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Friends of Morrinsville trainer Dan Erickson would be the first to tell you that if he was a cat he would now be on his 10th life. “That’s exactly what they said and tend to think of me as ‘Mr Accident-Prone’. I’ve had a few serious accidents over the years and they sure have let me know about it. “I’m just so glad my father (Lenny) practised horse manipulation. It is equine health science and I'm proud that he inspired me to follow him into the industry. It has helped me recover from a few of my injuries a lot quicker,” Erickson said. Due to his ties with his main job as a qualified ‘equine manipulator’ the Opotiki-born 56-year-old has now had his trainer’s licence since 2011, having had 21 starters to the races on and off since then. His only horse in work – a daughter of American Ideal named Turbulent Flow, won her first race in 10 attempts at Alexandra Park last Friday. The little brown mare also provided Erickson with his first training victory in 21 attempts when she and Todd Mitchell got up by nose in the last race – the $8,000 Shore Mariner Maiden. She was the $10 fifth favourite. “This win is for all the harness trainers’ horses who I have manipulated over the years. I’ve listen to each and everyone of them. Their advice has been so valuable. This victory is for them, especially John Peary and Paul Green. “When I did my first manipulation for Dad at John’s Te Puke stable, harness racing was a whole new language to me. I’d never heard of the jargon, and I thought back then if I’m going to get my manipulator’s licence I’d better do things right. “My family had always been into galloping. In fact when I left home I always thought Dad was a galloping trainer and builder. It wasn’t until I I was laid-up with my injury that I realised he was a qualified manipulator as well,” Erickson said. It was through horse manipulation that Erickson got to know standardbred trainers John Peary initially and latterly Paul Green. “I made a point of getting up with the ‘harness racing play’, so I read up and then went and worked as a stablehand for John,” Erickson said. “It was so easy for this galloping fella to get to know the trotting people. They are a lovely bunch. They welcomed me with open arms,” he added. Erickson’s wequine work has been described as “meticulous” by several horsemen, including Mark Purdon who gets his team manipulated when they stay with Graeme Rogerson at Tauherenikau. “It’s so good to have got that first winner. Dad’s sadly not with us any more, but he trained some nice gallopers and now I’ve trained a pacer to win. I’m sure he would have been proud that I took everyone’s harness racing advice in. “It was Dad’s career and support for me that got me where I am today,” Erickson said. Erickson was also quick to deflect praise on Waikato horsemen Tony Shaw, Peary, and for enticing him into harness racing. “John taught me all of the basics when I went and became a stablehand for him. Then it was Tony and Paul told me to get my licence. “Paul actually gave me Turbulent Flow to work, so a lot of the victory is his,” the ever modest Erickson said. Turbulent Flow rocketed along the passing lane late to get up and beat the favourite in the last stride. He paced the 2200 mobile from barrier nine in 2:45.5 (mile rate 2:01 even) and home in 59.1 and 30 flat. “It’s quite ironic but I also treat Richard Brosnan’s horses too and he trained the favourite who just missed. “I probably would have been working on that horse too, but I had another wee accident of late and it has set me back a few weeks,” Erickson said. Most of his injuries have been horse related. In one his leg was so mangled specialist told him he would never work with horses again. “I told them otherwise. I had to back my own techniques on myself or my work was worth nothing. That’s a couple of times I’ve bounced back now when they said I wouldn’t. “But this story isn’t about me. it’s about a tough little horse who doesn’t know how to give in – and about a swag of horsemen and horsewomen who have advised me and made this galloping hack so welcome,” Erickson said. “Especially the Morrinsville Club who have been so supportive and even allowed me to have my own barns there while I was away for quite a while with my injuries,” he added.   Duane Ranger

Todd Mitchell’s best start to a training season hasn’t come easy. Mitchell, who turns 45 on Wednesday (September 14), said he had come through one of the most testing times of his 16-year training career. “Towards the middle of last season a bad virus went through our whole stable. It crippled us for three or four months and cost our owners thousands in vet bills and antibiotics. “And it was a severe virus because it wouldn’t go away. It was so hard for the horses to shed it. They had mucus and crap forever dripping out of their noses. It was the worst time of my training career. It really slowed us right down,” said Mitchell who trains 26 horses – 18 standardbreds and eight thoroughbreds at his Tauwhare property. But after six North Island meetings in 2016-2017 the Waikato horseman has well and truly recovered from his set-back with five wins (from two meetings), one third, and $25,565 in stakes from just 17 starters. His UDR strike rate currently sits at 0.3137 – 0.0842 better than is lifetime UDR of 0.2295. “It’s a welcome relief and definitely my best start to any season I’ve encountered before. I was just joking to the staff the other day how we’ve almost beaten our season tally (10) of last year in just a couple of meetings. “Things have just fallen into place. The night we won three races at Cambridge the horses got the right trips and ran home well. I don’t care about winning but I do care if they are stopping in the straight,” Mitchell said. “That was heartening to see them sprint home like they did,” he added. That hatrick of wins came at Mitchell’s home track of Cambridge Raceway on August 18 via Master Of Escape, Raschker and Creamee. The latter trotter also won at Cambridge on September 8, as did Stunin Banner. Mitchell has driven three winners and his stable junior Andrew Drake, the other two. “It makes a difference when you have got a happy, healthy team. I’ve changed my feeds around and they all seem to be happy in their work. “Prime Power aside, there are no stars really, just a lot of nice horses who could win some money of they are placed right,” the man nicknamed ‘The Wizard’ said. He said said the 15-win pacer Stunin Banner was a perfect example of a horse who could win races proving he was put in the right races. “He’s a lovely horse and has still an entire but he’s a claimer who has to be placed right. Andrew won well with him from the second line last start. “We expect him to be handicapped in claiming races but at the same time we think he’s good enough to win if we line him up. he’s boxed at nights and spends his days in the paddocks. I don’t think that happened at Rogies (Graeme Rogerson). “I think a change like that to wide open spaces at the age of eight can do a horse like him the world of difference. I think the paddocks have given him a new lease of life after that awful virus,” said Mitchell. The four-time New Zealand Cup winning reinsman (Homin Hosed, Gracious Knight, Just An Excuse twice) hasn't got a drive in this year’s big race and doubts if Prime Power will be lining up in the Dominion during the NZ Cup Carnival. “When I heard Dexter was wanting to drive Locharburn in the Cup I text Cran (Dalgety) dropping a few hints. He text me back and told me to soak my hands in Palmolive. “As for Prime Power well I think we will see the real Prime Power this season. He was hitching in his gait last season and we gave him four months out in March. “He’s at Bryan Macy’s and has been jogging, He should be back in work by the end of month and then be ready to take on the best trotters at Alexandra Park over Christmas,” Mitchell said. “I’m sure his hitching is behind him. If it is watch out,” he added. Prime Power will go into his sixth season the winner of 15 of his 43 starts. he’s also placed 14 times and won $243,347. His quickest mile rate is 1:56.5 when he won his Harness Jewels 3yo Ruby at Ashburton in 2013. Mitchell was also hopeful a couple of his youngsters would also come to the party in 2016-2017. “Mac The Moneymaker is a nice 3-year-old Mach Three colt who has won one of his three starts. We tipped him out when he won at Alexandra Park in June and he’s six weeks away from the workouts. “I also like 4-year-old mare K C Spur (Pegasus Spur – Jazmin Alicia) and an American Ideal 3-year-old colt named The Coordinator. He’s out of Monaro, who also left Mach Three colt Walkinshaw (three wins),” Mitchell said. Then there’s Artsplace – Diamonds N Gold 3-year-old filly, Diamond Lace. “I train her for Breckon Farms and she goes real good. She’s a half sister to Glitzy Gal (by Bettor’s Delight), who won two races for me and Breckon Bloodstock before going on to win two more in Australia,” Mitchell said. Mitchell currently sits in fifth place in the national training premiership – six wins behind pace-setters, Greg & Nina Hope, and one behind the North Island’s leader – Ray Green (six wins). ‘The Wizard’s’ best season came in 2006-02007 when he trained 23 winners. Stakes-wise there was no better season than 2008-2009 when he cracked the $200,000 mark for the first time with $288,158 in purses. Mitchell is a member of the ‘1,000 Drivers Club’ having reined 1,058 winners and banked $11.2 million since 1988.   Duane Ranger

Just the 5 winners last week for the ring around, check back for updates as more selections come through. Nigel McGrath took 1st prize this week with his tip, Ears Burning who won the Kotare Downs 3yo Stakes on Sunday at Rangiora. A wonderful drive from N R McGrath himself saw Ears Burning salute at $4.30 $1.50 Others to select winners were, Steven Richardson, Ricky May, Gavin Smith and Bob Butt. This week’s selections are below and cover 6 meetings. Forbury Park – Thursday Night Mark Jones – sticks with Coringa Delight as his stables best chance this week, drawn well in barrier 2, she does look mighty hard to beat, Race 3.   Steven Richardson – Our bookie friend has gone for Shakey Loch, no doubt expecting some money for the new G Anderson runner, Race 4. Nathan Williamson – He’s travelling all around the country for drives at the moment, but Nathan goes for Statham as his best of the week, Race 9. Marlborough – Friday Afternoon Jay Abernethy – Thought Sunhaven Boss would go close in Race 2. Shaun Dayman - Back for one last chance, Shaun goes for Rock N Roll Delight, a possible quinella because she is also in Race 2. Alexandra Park – Friday Night Bob Butt – Thinks Le Reveur can double up and win again this week, Race 1. Joshua Dickie – Even from a tricky back row draw, Motown could win Race 2. John Curtin – Thought Miss Daisy could turn her form around in Race 4. Todd Mitchell – Goes with Glitzy Gal as his best of the week, Race 9. Addington – Friday Night Jonny Cox – Thought smart 2yo Custodian was his best chance of the week, Race 2. Gavin Smith - Says Sunny Ruby, who looks well placed off her 40m back mark, Race 4. Shane Walkinshaw – Went with New Years Jay as his best bet, with a good beginning is worthy of a each way bet, Race 9. Ashburton – Saturday Afternoon Andrew Fitzgerald – Goes for Nyree Franco, backed early by punters last week, this week appears easier and a big show to get the $$ back, Race 5. Matty Cross – Goes for Handsome Hero as his first ring around selection, also in Race 5. Ricky May - Thought Well Armed could handle the class rise and win again, Race 6. Brad Williamson – Sticks with handy 3yo Alderbeck as his best drive of the week, Race 9.   Andrew Fitzgerald

When it comes to preparing trotters in the North Island, harness racing trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett are two of the best around. Last night they lined up the talented but erratic Lady J in the first of the night. Slowly but surely Michelle and Bernie have turned the speedy but unruly daughter of Majestic Son into a racemare and lately she has started to look more like the racehorse she is bred to be. Regular pilot Todd Mitchell had Lady J away well from the 2200 metres stand and she settled three back on the inner after 200 metres. With 1200 metres to go Todd eased Lady J out into the running line to sit parked but he put no pressure into the leader, Landora's Amber with Nicky Chilcott in the bike. With no mid race moves, Todd was content to sit on her wheel until 400 metres from home where he pressed the go button and Lady J quickly put the race to bed, sprinting clear for an emphatic 4 1/4 length victory. Lady J trotted the 2200 metres from a stand in 2:56.5 with smart closing sectionals of 59.5 and 28.9. Driver Todd Mitchell was quick to acknowledge the great job Michelle and Bernie had done with the headstrong trotter. "She did that really easily tonight, I never even pulled the plugs." " The last couple of weeks she has been trotting really square and her manners have come good so a lot of the credit must go to Michelle and Bernie for the job they have done with her." " It was a timely win tonight actually as Michelle told me prior to the race that they are looking to retire her and send her to the broodmare paddock in August," Todd said. Lady J certainly has the breeding to make her mark as a broodmare. By leading trotting sire Majestic Son, Lady J is from a Muscles Yankee daughter of the former outstanding age group trotter in Inda Bank 1:58.9 ($138,660) Lady J may only have one win beside her name as she heads to stud but the ease and style of her win last night suggested she is way better than that. Harnesslink Media  

The connections of Cullie's Delight are waiting anxiously to see how she recovers after the mare stood on a 6.5cm builder's nail which drove into her foot during a race at a harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park. Worried trainers are seeking assurances from the Auckland Trotting Club that its construction of a new building for the Blues Super Rugby team and future apartment complex won't put the safety of their horses at risk again.  Cullie's Delight was sent out favourite for the third race last Friday night, carrying at least $33,000 of punters' money in a myriad of betting pools. However, the mare started pacing roughly 1400 metres from home and driver Todd Mitchell suspected she had broken down. "I felt her falter between the 1500m and 1400m but she seemed to come right 400 metres later," Mitchell said. "But she started limping on pulling up and I thought she must have cracked a bone. Sometimes they can keep running on adrenalin." When Mitchell returned to the stables, however, the reason for her distress became obvious with blood coming out of the bottom of one foot. "When I picked her foot up, I couldn't believe it, a builder's nail was buried about an inch deep and bent over. And when I pulled it out, blood started pouring everywhere." Mitchell said the course vet told him the five-win mare was very lucky that the nail had not penetrated the foot as deeply as she first feared. A protective pad the mare was wearing might have saved her from catastrophic injury. "It could have gone into the pedal bone and then it would have been curtains," Mitchell said. Mitchell reported the incident to the stipendiary stewards because he said the nail was far too big to be anything else but a builder's nail - it definitely did not come from any part of a horse's gear or sulky. "I know there's a lot of construction going on at the track but, really, the welfare of the horses has to be paramount. "You wouldn't know if a builder has thrown a nail over the fence or if it's become caught up in the harrows. "It's bad enough that it happened to a horse like Cullie's Delight, who is close to retirement, but imagine if that had happened to a horse like (champion filly) The Orange Agent who ran at the workouts the following day." Mitchell said Cullie's Delight had been treated for tetanus and with antibiotics in the hope that the wound would not become infected. "The nail hole has closed over but there is a bit of a pulse into her leg and she's still a bit tender on it," said Mitchell who has been  bathing her foot in epsom salts. On Wednesday, five days after the injury, an infection blew out the back of her heel. "I just hope she's all right - infections can be dangerous things." Mitchell said the ATC had pledged to pay for the veterinary treatment Cullie's Delight needed on racenight, and the vet checks she's had since. But it in no way compensated Mitchell or owner Darren Bell for the likely loss of earnings on the night and over the next few weeks while she recovers. "I was pretty gutted. We wanted to win another race before she went to stud and she was in a race that really suited her." With five wins, 30 seconds and thirds and nearly $60,000 in earnings, the daughter of Bettor's Delight had considerable value as a broodmare already. The stewards' report confirmed Cullie's Delight "paced roughly rounding the bend passing the 1400 metres." It's commentary on the reason gave no more detail than "a post-race veterinary examination revealed a puncture wound to its hoof after standing on a nail."  Racing Integrity Unit racing investigator Bryan Oliver confirmed he'd taken a picture of the nail, which he estimated to be "two and a half inches long", but he refused to release it to Fairfax Media. "I don't think it's of interest to anybody," he said. Oliver might try telling that to punters who, according to the TAB, wagered at least $33,000 on the horse. As well as carrying $16,200 in win and place bets, the TAB estimates another $16,500 in exotic bets ran through Cullie's Delight, as she was favourite for a double, treble and quaddie leg, and a key horse for trifectas and quinellas. ATC racing manager Kevin Smith said the incident was a random event which while regrettable and had no obvious explanation. "We've inspected the track and obviously we'll be taking as many steps as we can to prevent it happening again. "The track guys are acutely aware now of what happened and will be doing more pre-race checks." Smith said it would be pure conjecture to say how the nail came to be on the racing surface. "With all the construction going on it might have got into the tyre of a truck, come out of a driver's pocket or out of the backside of a seagull in the air. It's pure speculation." Smith said while everything would be done to ensure it did not happen again, no 100 per cent assurance could ever be given and the club had received no other reports of building materials contaminating the track. Mitchell, however, told Fairfax Media the racenight vet said she'd  found a piece of iron on the track when walking to her ute.  Trainers have also expressed concern that their horses could be at risk walking along the path from the relocated float park to the stables, directly adjacent to the construction site of the Blues' building.  Barry Lichter

Our harness racing tipsters are having a bit of the winter blues at the moment with less than inspiring results some weeks. Last week saw only two of our tipsters pick winners with Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson doing the honours but we did have eight placegetters and some of those such as Shane Walkinshaw's pick, Takitimu Express paid good money ($4:20) This week we have four meetings in the country and we have picks for them all. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Spinyback was overdue and could win race 2 Shane Walkinshaw - Thinks on his work this week, Jetsdream will win race 4 Craig Ferguson - Gives Mordecai a good chance of going back to back in race 6   Auckland  - Friday night Steven Reid - Reckons Concorde even from barrier 8 will be hard to beat in race 2 Scott Phelan - If Superimposed has any luck from his bad draw,he thinks he can win race 2  Todd Mitchell - Thinks the millionaire Vulcan can add to the bankroll in race 6 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Vice Consul from the front line could win race 7 Tony Herlihy -  Gives The Almighty Johnson a big chance of winning race 8 John Dunn - Rates Return To Sender as hard to roll in race 9 Mark Jones - Thought Rocker Band would be very hard to beat, also in race 9   Addington - Friday night Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of the two year old Matatoki in race 1 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Maddison Hill can upset them in race 2 Tim Williams - Gives Bird Of Paradise a big show even from the second line in race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Zin Zan must win one shortly and thinks it will be in race 7 Ricky May - Thought the southern raider Tetrick would be hard to beat in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Agrees with Ricky that Tetrick will be hard to beat in race 8 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Eden can get the chocolates in race 9   Timaru - Sunday afternoon  Blair Orange - Thought the first starter My Cash would be hard to beat in race 3 Gavin Smith - Very bullish about the chances of Great Things Happen in race 4 Brad Williamson - Reckons Kylie Castleton can bounce back and win race 6 Jim Curtin - Gives Insignificant a chance to upset them at odds, also in race 6  John Curtin - Thought Naughty Maravu only needed some luck for a change to win race 8 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Contractual Issues will be hard to hold out in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Last week was one of the better weeks overall for a while with our tipsters not far off all weekend. Six selected winners with Kyle Marshall leading the way with the $6 shot, JC Jock while Scott Phelan, Blair Orange, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Ricky May also got the job done. What was so frustrating was the tipsters had eleven placegetters including ten second placings over the weekend. This week however we only have three meetings around the country and quite a few of our regulars are not in action this weekend but as usual it would pay to follow the tipsters selections on the first day at Blenheim on Friday to the second day on Sunday. Forbury Park - Thursday night Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Jetsdream just needed an ounce of luck to win race 2 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Mr Handleman is a chance at huge odds, also in race 2 Craig Ferguson - Rates Lamborne Road a big chance to bounce back and win race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Betta Go Fernco can turn it around and win, also in race 5 Brad Williamson - Hopes to celebrate his 21st birthday with a win on Elusive Flight in race 7 Gavin Smith - Gives the two year old Late Mail a big chance of winning race 9 Matthew Williamson - Rates Springbank Eden a chance of upsetting them in race 11   Blenhiem - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Quite keen on the chances of the first starter Dusky Eyre in race 1 Ricky May - Rates Delightful Jack as well overdue and thinks he will win race 2 John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of stable runner Mr Meddle in race 6 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a big push to win race 7 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Art Exhibit is ready to strike and will win race 8     Franklin - Friday night Scott Phelan - Thinks Ideal Roman is a big chance from barrier two in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Rates I Am The One a good each way prospect in race 4 John Curtin - Thought Bettormack second up from a break would win, also in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Reckons The Tracker can carry on his winning streak in race 5 Steven Reid - Gives Franco Nikau a chance of rolling them at big odds, also in race 5 Steven Richardson (TAB) - Rates Chosen Path fresh up a big chance of winning race 6 Kyle Marshall - Thought Kilkeel Lady from barrier two could upset them in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Our harness racing tipsters had another so so week although to be fair they did have a lot of close second placings over the four meetings. There were five winners selected with Clark Barron continuing his hot run at the moment along with Bob Butt, Tony Herlihy, Shane Walkinshaw and Tim Williams and they also had seven placings as well, a lot of them at good odds. This week we have five meetings but none in the deep south which has affected our number of tipsters a bit. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Chantrey back to his favourite track could upset them in race 3 Brendon McLellan - Gives new stable runner Continental Boy a good chance of winning race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of smart 3 year old Robyn's Bad Boy winning race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Hezabluechipboy a big winning chance in race 8  Steve Richardson - Thought The Edge Of Reason could upset them at good odds in race 9   Auckland - Friday night  Maurice McKendry - Really quite keen on the chances of the out of form Sir Richie in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Gives the 2 year old Cyclone Chief a good chance of winning race 2 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Yagunnakissmeornot can bounce back to winning form in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Rates Charming Lavra a big chance of winning again, also in race 4 Steven Reid - Confident that Shedontloveme will go one better this week and win 6 John Dunn - Thought Barry was due a change of luck and could win race 8   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Reckons Saint Michel with the help of the mobile will win race 2 Bob Butt - With two runs under his belt, thought Any Old Way was ready to win, also in race 2  Brad Williamson - Looks like a trifecta as Brad thinks The Silver Fox will win race 2 Tim Williams - Rates the debutante Cash N Flow as very hard to beat in race 5 Jim Curtin - Thought One Over Da Moon on his Rowe Cup run would win race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks King Of Strathfield has been going great and could win, also in race 6 Scott Phelan - Rates Bettor B Amazed a big winning chance even from barrier 9 in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Bracken Ridge a big show of turning his form around and winning race 9   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Very bullish about the chances of Mighty Regal in race 4   Ashburton - Sunday afternoon Ricky May - Rates the first starter Cable Beach very highly and thinks he will win race 4 John Curtin - Thought Gracious Star and Michelle Neilson would make it two in a row and win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Last weeks selections at the four harness racing meetings looked ok on paper but it turned into our worst performance since we started doing the ringaround. Todd MacFarlane has bragging rights this week because he was the only tipster to select a winner last week. We did have eleven placings but it is still hard to fathom how we only managed one winner from twenty odd selections. Still as Steve Hansen would say, "flush the dunny" and move on to this week. There are five meetings this week and we have selections for them all. Forbury Park - Thursday night Brad Williamson - Gives The Silver Fox a big chance of taking out race 3 Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Astro Boy was a good each way chance in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Rates Parramatta very hard to beat, also in race 4   Alexandra Park - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thinks the two year old filly Are You Ready Girl can win race 1 Tony Herlihy - Rates Rub Of The Green a good each way chance in race 4 Scott Phelan - Reckons Prince Of Pops will be very hard to beat,also in race 4 Todd MacFarlane - Gives Twoandahalf Tigers a good each way show in race 5 Steven Reid - Very bullish about the chances of Art Form, also in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Quite keen on the chances of Chachingchaching in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Thought Makarewa Jake was a big chance in race 8   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Bracken Ridge a big winning chance in race 1 Bob Butt - Thrilled with Conon Bridge last week and thinks he will win race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thinks Trouble Rieu will be too smart for them in race 5  Ricky May - Very bullish about the chances of Brilliant Strike in race 9   Motukarara - Sunday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly  - Gives Hit The Spot a good chance fresh up to win race 7 John Dunn - Thinks Geisha Girl can bounce back to her winning ways, also in race 7    Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Tim Williams - Can't see the very smart Lazarus being beaten in race 1 Clark Barron - Thinks he can bring up win number 1000 on Mass Invasion in race 3 Nathan Williamson - Thought Sue Me from barrier one would be hard to beat in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major just needs a little bit of luck from her barrier to win race 11   Harnesslink Media

If anyone thought that Stent was vulnerable in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Championship at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington, (we did) then it took just three minutes and fifteen seconds to well and truly put that idea to bed. Before the race had even got under way there was a major surprise when the well performed Kincaslough refused to score up twice and was late scratched as a result. Everyone thought driver Colin De Filippi from barrier three would head straight to the front with Stent and that was the first surprise as Colin stayed out of the early rush. Todd Mitchell and Prime Power flew the gate to lead from barrier seven with Stent settling into the one by one behind One Over Da Moon in the death. Mark Jones worked Master Lavros forward from the second line and grabbed the lead after 700 metres and set a quick tempo up front. Due to the tempo there were few mid race moves with the exception being Clover Don who worked forward to the death with 1200 metres to go. At the 500 metres mark Mark Jones tried to steal a break on the field and turned for home four lengths in front  but the challengers were emerging from the pack. First King Denny appeared and then Stent went straight past them all to grab a very game Masters Lavros in the shadows of the winning post for an emphatic victory. Sheemon who followed Stent everywhere switched to the inside in the straight and flew late for third just in front of King Denny who made a very promising debut in town hall company. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Alley Way, who flew late for sixth after being last on the final bend. Colin was a touch apprehensive turning for home. " I thought I may have left it too late to move because Master Lavros is a class trotter and is hard to reel in." " Having said that I have a lot of confidence in my fellow and I knew they would know we were there," Colin said. Owner Trevor Casey was one proud man post race " That was a huge performance." " I thought we were too far back on the turn so to get up and win was a great run," Trevor said. Master Lavros went his best race for the season and there is plenty of room for improvement. " I didn't even give him a trial before last week and I've left him really big this time in so there should be plenty of improvement in him." " His condition gave out the last bit but I couldn't be happier with how he is trotting." " We will head to the Rowe Cup now with a bit of confidence, " Mark said. The unlucky horse once again was the northerner Prime Power. Trainer Todd Mitchell was rueful about a shoeing change he had made. " I changed his shoes four starts ago and fitted him with a lighter shoe." " He was fine with them at Auckland but he struggled with them on the Addington surface." " I was jogging tonight on the corner which makes it even more disappointing." " I think back at Auckland he will be fine, but we may change the shoes back anyway," Todd said It was a special night for Trevor Casey at Addington as not only does he own Stent but he also shares in the ownership of the brilliant Welcome Stakes winner last night in Waikiki Beach. The cherry on top for Trevor was last nights win edged Stent over the $1,000,000 mark in lifetime earnings and the way he is going he could set new overall marks for stake earnings for a trotter in Australasia in the next couple of years. Harnesslink Media  

Last week was a mixed bag but two very wet tracks at both Ascot Park and Methven didn't help with the conditions hampering a lot of runners. We managed five winners with the best dividend going to Bob Butt at Methven with Ancient Moonlight while others to select winners were John Dunn, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Scott Phelan and we also had five placings as well. This week there are only the four meetings and we cover them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Gives Soul Hanover a great each way chance in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thinks on his runs to date they can't beat Alta Leroy in race 8    Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Thought Uandmebabe would be hard to beat from her good draw in race 7 Scott Phelan - Very bullish about the chances of Bettor B Amazed, also in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Gives the two year old Shandale a big chance of winning race 8 Steven Reid - Rates Aquickone on her work this week as the one to beat in race 9   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thought Danny Del Vito from barrier one could upset them in race 1 John Dunn - Gives Culinary Delight a big push to return to the winners list, also in race 1 Bob Butt - Looking for the trifecta in race one where Bob thinks Gracious Me will be hard to beat Robbie Holmes - Thought Aile Rouge could get a piece of it at good odds in race 2 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of the very smart Father Christmas, also in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Reckons Waikiki Beach will beat Chase The Dream and win race 4 Blair Orange - Thinks Habibti Ivy will match it with the boys in the Derby and win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Tiger Tara would be improved this week and a each way chance in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Knows Alley Way is up against it this week but a great place chance in race 7 Tim Williams - Keeps giving out Have Faith In Me and he keeps winning, this week in race 8 Ricky May - Rapt with the run of Dalton Bromac last week and won't have him beaten in race 9   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major must be due a change of luck and can win race1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Really likes the chances of Denn Nee Nose Best in race 3 Clark Barron - Gave Real Raider a big chance to clear maidens in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Thought Franco Tyson would be a great each way chance at good odds in race 8   Harnesslink Media

Last week wasn't one of our best but the missing link was our southern tipsters who had a shocker at Winton last Saturday. Everybody else was thereabouts with their selections with Jim Curtin, Todd Mitchell, Maurice McKendry and Ricky May tipping us into winners and we had seven placegetters as well. This week there are only four meetings in the country and we have selections for them all. Taranaki - Thursday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Gave Sheza Springfield a big chance of clearing maidens in race 3 Peter Scaife - Likes Prime Legal to improve on his first day run and win race 4 Scott Phelan - Rates Better B Amazed as very hard to beat in race 9 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Styx It To Em was right in the zone and would win race 10   Addington - Friday night John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of Boom Gate in race 1 Blair Orange - Gives Goodness Gracious Me a big chance in race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Jaccka Justy would be hard to beat in race 3 Tony Herilhy - Thinks Hug The Wind will be very hard to beat from barrier 1 in race 6 Tim Williams - Very keen on the very smart Have Faith In Me, also in race 6 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Prime Power is at his best and will win race 8   Ascot Park - Saturday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of Geordie Sivad to make it two in a row in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Mokosun from the front line would be hard to beat in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Gives Leigh Major a big chance in race 7 Nathan Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Statham in race 8 Clark Barron - Not sure if Bonnies Khaleesi can beat Statham but a great place bet, also in race 8   Methven - Sunday afternoon Matthew Williamson - Likes the chances of the first starter Toot Toot in race 1 Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of Ancient Moonlight in race 3 Jim Curtin - Gives Trial Separation a big chance of leaving maidens in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Really keen on the chances of Another Delight, also in race 4 Ricky May - Thought Jack Hammer would be very hard to beat in race 8 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Break Dance is a big chance to make it two in a row in race 9   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

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     

Trainer Todd Mitchell says Prime Power is too good to head to Australia this summer. Because the most important job he has it to let the former Jewels winner mature here, rather than chasing the Aussie gold maybe a year too soon. Mitchell had a night of seconds after leading at Cambridge last Friday, with both Prime Power and Gold Ace run down by favorites -- Stent and Adore Me respectively --- in the night’s main sprints. Prime Powers showed his best gate speed this campaign to easily cross Stent and looked to have the favourite in a bit of trouble at the 300m before he powered past in the last 100m. That was enough for Mitchell to shelve any plans to head to Aussie to contest races like the A$200,000 trot at Menangle on March 1 or the Great Southern Star six days later. “Stent just got to us too easily which suggests to be he isn’t quite strong enough now to be taking to Aussie,” says Mitchell. “Originally I thought this might be his year to go but he is still maturing, both mentally and physically and I am sure he will be better again next season because he has already strengthened up for this campaign. “The way we look at it he could have three or even four more years left in the top grade and I think he will develop to the point where he can hold his sprint longer and then he will be even more potent. “So with all of that in front of him it doesn’t make sense right now to head to Australia.” So Mitchell will give Prime Power a short spell before setting him for the Greenlane Cup, which is now on Auckland Cup night, March 6. “Then he can head south for Four and Five-Year-Old Trot at Addington on March 20 and the NZ Trotting Champs a week later.” Safely through those Mitchell will target the Rowe Cup, giving him his first real shot at a big staying 3200m at the highest level. “I think that will all be good for him and then we can look at the Dominion next season and hopefully he will handle the staying races better by then.” Mitchell, who as a four-time New Zealand Cup winning driver knows a thing or two about good horses, was left shaking his head after Adore Me’s win in the Flying Mile last Friday. “I thought I had her beat at the 400m but she just lifted,” he said. “My fella (Gold Ace) went great but she was too good. She has got to be one of the greatest mares we have seen.” Michael Guerin - Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

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