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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

The judicial system in harness racing in New Zealand is one of those creatures that attracts criticism from time to time when it is seen to do little about incidents sometimes while at other times appearing to be heavy handed in their decisions. It is a fine balancing act to try to be even handed and at the same time protect the all important image of the industry we are all involved in. The stewards have to rely on the JCA to get it right and when they don't everybody wears the blowback that follows. Most of the time you could argue they get it right but the volume of emails we have received since the final of the Sires Stakes final for 3 year old fillies at Auckland on New Year Eve would suggest that in relation to that particular race, the JCA have erred badly. When Maurice McKendry on The Orange Agent went to improve three wide 1200 metres out in that race, he did so in the knowledge that he couldn't be pushed out wider under the current rules until 1000 metres from the finish . What his move did do was flush Mark Purdon on Supersonic Miss out three wide in front of him at the 1150 metre mark which should have given Maurice a nice drag into the race. Instead Zac Butcher on Democrat Party  pushed him out four wide at that point and he got onto the back of Supersonic Miss instead of Maurice. Maurice had no option but to drop back but couldn't slot in as Fight For Glory had legally got on to the back of Democrat Party in the three wide line which meant while his opposition was going forward, Maurice was dragging The Orange Agent back so he could drop into the three wide line. With the last 800 metres off the front being run in 54.6 and the 400 metres in 27 flat, The Orange Agent was no chance to run in the money from the time she was pushed out four wide. Instead of being handy when the speed went on at the 800 metres,The Agent Orange was well back in the field and wide. As to be expected the siren went and the stewards looked at the video and applied the rules as they stand. With The Orange Agent finishing 5th some 12 lengths from the winner they were never going to be successful in having Democrat Party relegated before the JCA. They did however charge Zac Butcher under rule 869 and its various sub -sections in that between the 1100  metres and the 1000 metres he had pushed Maurice McKendry and The Orange Agent out four wide when not entitled to do so. Zac pleaded guilty before the JCA and was fined the sum of $350 - and that is what has so many of our emailers so upset. This was a Group 1 race worth $150,000 and is keenly sought after by owners of fillies for their resume later on. In this case The Orange Agent was the dominating favourite and basically had her chances extinguished when shunted out four wide by Zac Butcher on Democrat Party. The penalty must fit the offense in these cases and to fine someone $350 for breaking a longstanding rule in a $150,000 Group 1 race is manifestly inadequate. The owners and trainer have done nothing wrong and to penalize them in circumstances such as these would be wrong. But the driver is guilty in this instance of a major infraction of our rules and the penalty should have reflected that. The message that the $350 fine sends to all drivers in major races in New Zealand is that if you do happen to knock the favourite out of contention, the consequences are likely to be very minor. A more appropriate penalty in our view would have been a fine in line with the drivers percentage that Zac will receive for driving the winner. That would have sent a clear message that major infractions are going to have major consequences. Not that the stewards covered themselves in glory with the other issue raised by a lot of the people contacting us. Kate Perry drew barrier eight in the race and was sent forward bigtime to grab the lead after 200 metres and then refused to hand up to the favoured runner Classical Art for the next 400 metres as the two fillies drew clear in a lead time of 40.3. Natalie Rasmussen had an excuse on Classical Art as one of the deafeners had come out and she started to badly over race. Todd Mitchell on Kate Perry had no such excuse and having run her first 600 in 40.3 from barrier eight, she predictably started to give ground from the 700 metres mark, finishing last 47.4 metres from the winner. Kate Perry was no show of playing a part in the outcome of the race after 600 metres and that was due entirely to a miscalculation on Todd's behalf. The stewards inquired of Todd re Kate Perry's performance but accepted his explanation that she was disappointing. Surely he should have been charged with failing to give Kerry Perry every chance to win the race and their failure to even charge him has left a lot of industry insiders shaking their heads. We must add that this is not and should not be construed as an attack on either Zac Butcher or Todd Mitchell. They are both outstanding drivers but like all human beings they make mistakes occasionally. Like everyone else in the wider community you have to be accountable for your actions. What the stewards and the JCA have done on this occasion is badly let everybody else in the industry down. It is a bad look for harness racing when industry participants are either not charged or fined a miniscule amount for serious misjudgments. JC

Nearly everyone was left breathless at Alexandra Park on Friday night when New Zealand records fell like ninepins and even lower class horses ran unheard-of times. But there was one horse, who just missed out on a record his owner longs for, who definitely didn't run out of puff. Stent put the memory of his poor Dominion Handicap run well behind him when he crushed his opposition in the Lyell Creek Stakes, becoming an unbackable favourite for Wednesday's $45,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge. And it was all down to the treatment the horse has been getting since Show Day after which he was diagnosed with symptoms of asthma. Trainer-driver Colin de Filippi knew something wasn't quite right with Stent when he was gone at the quarter, a run completely out of character for a horse who always tries his heart out. And when his vet did a lung wash it revealed the problem. "The vets said given what they found they were surprised he could run as well as he was," de Filippi said. "We're not sure what caused it but it could be pollen at this time of the year, or dust." In the ensuing weeks Stent has been treated with a number of powders and has been on a course of inhalers, just like humans with asthma. Each morning before he works Stent has a few puffs of Ventolin and afterwards another inhaler, before going on a nebuliser for 20 minutes. The regime has to be stopped a number of days before he races but its effectiveness was evident on Friday night when Stent burst out of the gate, easily held an early challenge for the lead by Prime Power, then just as easily repelled his passing lane run in the stretch. Owner Trevor Casey was delighted with the return to form but sorry Stent missed Royal Aspirations' national 2200 metres record of 2:43 by just four tenths of a second. "I'd love him to get a record because he so deserves it. He's broken records before but only been placed." But Stent, who clocked a mile rate of 1:59.5 and zipped his last 400 in 27.6, looks well placed in the next few months to gain the recognition Casey says is well overdue. After Cambridge he has the $80,000 National Trot back at Alex Park on New Year's Even then a smorgasbord of races Casey has mapped out in Australia where last year he won the A$100,000 Grand Prix. First stop is the A$30,275 Maori Mile at Bendigo, a race his speedy mare Escapee won two years ago. Then he has unfinished business with former Kiwi Keystone Del in both the Glenferrie Challenge and Great Southern Star. "He was three back on the fence in the Glenferrie and got out too late to catch Keystone Del and in the final of the Great Southern Star he drew one, led, but was attacked all the way by Blitzthemcalder and Keystone Del beat him again." It's not a schedule rival trainer Todd Mitchell has much appetite for with Prime Power unless he can beat Stent on December 31. "If we can't beat Stent here there's no point going over there to run second to him. We'll miss Cambridge and I'll freshen him up with a couple of trips to the beach and make up our minds about Australia after his next run. "If we do go it might be just for the one race at Menangle. The Great Southern Star (heat and final the same day) could be a year too soon for him." Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will wait until after Queen Of Hearts winner Adore Me runs in the $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile at Cambridge on January 9 before confirming her Australian targets. Purdon was super impressed by the way Adore Me dug deep in the home straight to get the better of Helena Jet and Lancewood Lizzie. "It was a very, very tough effort as we went a pretty solid 300 metres to get round them to the death." Fellow Canterbury trainer Benny Hill knows exactly where and when he wants to land in Australia with Dalton Bromac, who ran a supersonic 2:36.1, smashing Bogan Fella's New Zealand 2200m mark by two seconds. His whole campaign has been aimed at the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on March 1, the reason he is running in Wednesday's $50,000 Futurity at Cambridge, where a win would gain him automatic entry. Dalton Bromac was by far the most impressive of all the record-breakers on Friday - as good as Gold Ace, Delightful Lana and Itz Bettor To Win were - his run prompting pinch-hitting driver Dexter Dunn to rate him the most impressive horse he had driven since Christen Me was coming through the grades. Courtesy of Barry Lichter - Sunday Star Times - Check site here  

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

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at www.stallionsphere.com This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: NZ: 1000 wins and hardly a murmur - One thing that we struggle with in the harness racing game in New Zealand is how we treat our superstars of the sport. In any other sport they shower there stars with awards and public recognition when they achieve something special. AU: You're only as good as your last win - We have all heard the adage "you are only as good as your last win." Well, it would appear at least one well-known trainer has come to realise this to be true. Stallion Review – YANKEE CRUISER – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Yankee Cruiser 1:49.3s ($1,457,346). Drop your foot and pay the fine - Last week Harnesslink featured its most controversial article ever. Thousands of views and hundreds of comments, both pro and con, on the David Miller interview about dropping his foot in the Progress Pace at Dover Downs. Insider Access archive available - Following requests from our readers in relation to previous editions of Insider Access, we are providing a link for those looking to catch up on some news they missed. Simply click here and delve through the archives as Insider Access and Harnesslink continue to lead the way in providing the latest news from around the world. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

One of harness racing's most select clubs in New Zealand has a new member after the "Wizard" Todd Mitchell chalked up win number 1000 as a driver when he piloted Prime Power to the winners circle at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Todd became just the 22nd driver to reach the milestone and he did it on one on his all time favourite horses in Prime Power. "I thought I might reach the mark the day before at Hawera but it just never fell into place on the day." " I am glad I drove the 1000th at Alexandra Park and being on Prime Power made it that bit more special," Todd told Harnesslink today.  Todd was always destined to follow a career in harness racing with his father being the former top trainer Robert Mitchell. "I have been around horses all my life."  "I worked for dad for 12 months when I left school and then went and worked for South Taranaki Bloodstock for near on 18 months." "From there I had a spell lasting about 18 months at National Bloodstock which is when they had a lot of top horses like Tower Of Strength," Todd said. Todd then went back to work for his father and continued to hone his driving skills. Not to long after that decided the time was right to give training a go himself. The first season in 2001 was a touch quiet but he has steadily built up the team to the point where Todd presently has 205 wins as a trainer on the board.  Todd started driving in 1989 and built through the 1990s to the point where by the late 1990s Todd was in the upper echelons of New Zealand drivers. The first highlight was winning the 1999 New Zealand Cup with Homin Hosed which he backed up with Gracious Knight when he won the New Zealand Cup in 2002. Then Just An Excuse won the 2003 and 2004 New Zealand Cups to give Todd four wins in New Zealands premier race in just six years. His most successful season was in 2003 when he drove 85 winners. Todd was straight to the point when asked who was the best pacer that he had driven. " Just An Excuse was special for me and the best pacer I haver driven." "Prime Power is just as clearly the best trotter I have anything to do with," Todd said. Todd has been aware he was closing in on the 1000 mark but says it took a bit longer due to his nine month holiday in 2012. "That nine month break was the best thing that could have happened to me." "It gave a much better outlook on the game being on the outside for a while." "I worked at Pencarrow Stud for nine months and really enjoyed the time there." Having now reached his goal of 1000 driving wins, Todd's sights are now firmly fixed on Australia with his star trotter Prime Power.  Safely through the next two starts at Auckland, Todd will turn his attention to the Glenferrie Challenge at Menangle with the 5 year son of Monarchy. "The mile on that big track is taylor made for him and I am excited about the trip" " I am not sure about heading on to the Southern Star a week later as I am not convinced he is mentally tough enough yet for three runs in a week," Todd said. Todd is one of the most approachable and helpful people in the industry when we ring for a comment or information and we here at Harnesslink would like to join with the rest of his peers in congratulating Todd on achieving the 1000 wins as a driver. Harnesslink Media  

As the count down begins to the two big trotting races on the Australian harness racing calendar in March next year, most Australian pundits have already labeled Keystone Del nigh on unbeatable in the two big features. First up on the 1st of March we have the $200,000 Glenferrie Farm Challenge at Tabcorp Park Menangle followed six days later on March 7th by the $300,000 heat and final of the Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton. A few months ago the list of Kiwi trotters that seemed on track to travel to Australia to challenge Keystone Del seemed a long one but injury and indifferent form has cut a swathe through potential runners. Stent is still on track to return to Australia and again looks a serious threat while Sheemon has also earned a crack with a series of great runs this season. However the mile distance of both races plays into the hands of one of New Zealands most promising  trotters in Prime Power and he has been set for the two races this time in. Placed 4th in the Harness Jewels as a 2 year old, Prime Power came back as a 3 year old to completely dominate the Harness Jewels in 1:56.5 for the mile over Sheemon, Royal Aspirations and Blitzemcalder. Prime Power started his 4 year old season in real style winning his first five races with ease but then he suffered a few little niggles during which he raced well but not to the level he is capable of. Trainer/driver Todd Mitchell was never 100% happy with his stable star for most of the season. " He was never happy in himself and just wasn't right for a big part of the season" "Even when he ran 3rd in the Harness Jewels to Sheemon, he was not right," Todd told Harnesslink this week. The decision was made after the Harness Jewels to bypass the Dominion Handicap during Cup Week and that decision let Prime Power have a really decent break and get over whatever was ailing him last season. Todd is sure they made the right decision. "He is a different horse this time in and I couldn't be happier with him." "He is a lot happier in himself and it is showing in his work and how he is racing," Todd said. First up for the season Prime Power was beaten a nose after giving the talented Miss Pegasus a 20 metre start and then last week he accounted for the best trotters in the North Island with a convincing win in a time that was just 1/10th of a second outside of I Can Doosit's New Zealand record. It was the 12th win for the son of Monarchy along with 9 placings from just 27 starts for $175,112 in stakes. Todd is happy that last weeks win put one worry to bed. " Some people have expressed doubts about his ability to see out a really quick 2700 metres but last weeks win well and truly put that to bed. " "I  have always had confidence in the horse," Todd said. Safely through the Xmas carnival, Prime Power will be freshened before heading to Australia for his biggest test to date. With his blinding speed and great record at a mile, Prime Power has all the credentials to be a major player in the Trotting Masters this season. Harnesslink Media

The elite level of trotters has been bereft of a standout so far this harness racing season with most of the established players having issues with either form or injuries. What looked like an abundance of riches a few months ago has turned into a bit of a drought as horses such as Master Lavros, Irish Whisper, Royal Aspirations and Habibti have either raced below expectations or had health issues. One of the elite group who has been missing from most of the action to date is the Todd Mitchell trained Prime Power who has only had one start so far this season for a close second at Alexandra Park. While all the elite trotters were doing battle at Addington over Cup week, Prime Power was at home getting ready for what is shaping as a career defining season  In Prime Power's case it is all part of a plan to have him peaking over the Xmas carnival at Auckland. Safely through that it is hoped to cross the Tasman and show the Australians that they have another elite level Kiwi trotter to worry about. Tonight at Alexandra Park, Prime Power meets a small field of just six trotters but all the best northerners are there with Cool Cobber, Irish Whisper, Boizel and Realmein lining up. Trainer/driver Todd Mitchell is more than happy with his charge heading into tonights clash. " His work this week has been first class and I couldn't be happier with him." " I think he will be very hard to beat on his work," he said. Todd was also quite keen on the chances of his lightly raced pacer Doubleodeano who has drawn barrier 8 in a field that has plenty of depth. " I couldn't be happier with him on his work this week." "I know he has drawn wide but he is a big winning chance," Todd said. Tonights meeting at Alexandra Park has drawn the best fields of the season to date and if this is a pointer leading to the New Years Eve meeting then bring it on. Harnesslink Media 

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

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

Tony Milina is a name well known in the harness racing industry in New Zealand due to a string of top horses he trained through the 80s and 90s such as Elmer Gantry (18 wins) and Mister Square (16 wins) Last night at Alexandra Park his daughter Lisa turned the clock back as she produced her first runner in a race and in her fathers famous colours. It was approiate that the runner was a trotter as her father Tony was always a dab hand at producing talented square gaiters. Lisa has owned the trotter in question, Moment Of Truth for over a year but up till now she has had to have him trained by other people. " I only got my licence a week ago so up till then I have been helping out his trainers whenever I could. "Dad taught me everything I know so I had a good teacher," Lisa said. Moment Of Truth was having his 138th start last night and Lisa is the twelfth trainer to have started the son of Sundon. " He behaves like a five year old around the place. "You would never guess that he was a twelve year old," she said. Away well for driver Todd Mitchell from his 10 metre handicap, Moment Of Truth settled in the last couple and was still there with 800 metres to run. Easing out three wide with cover from the 600 metres, Moment Of Truth came four wide as they straightened for home and used the whole straight to swamp the leaders in the last 50 metres for win number 23. For a large part of the race Moment Of Truth hung quite badly but Lisa wasn't worried. " It is just the way he goes "There is nothing wrong with him to make him hang like that. "We have tried a pole on him but he just fights it big time so you are better to let him have his own way," she said  Lisa was still pinching herself this morning that she was able to win a race with her very first starter. "It might be a good time to retire with a UDR of 1000," she joked this morning Lisa is not sure how much longer Moment Of Truth can keep racing but as long as he is competitive and enjoying it she will press on. "There are a couple more races at Alexandra Park coming up and then the grass track circuit over Xmas and New Year.  "As long as everything is good with Moment Of Truth we will be there," she said The Milina name has a proud tradition in New Zealand harness racing and Lisa looks more than capable of adding to that legacy. Harnesslink Media  

The Group One National Trot, the Group Two Lyell Creek Stakes and Waikato Trotters Flying Mile - all in December - are the short-term targets for Prime Power who resumes his racing career at Alexandra Park tonight. The 5-year-old Monarchy gelding will have his first race since running third behind Sheemon and Doctor Bones in the Harness Jewels 4yo trot final at Cambridge Raceway on May 31. He will join fellow Waikato squaregaiter Charlemagne on the 40m back mark in Friday’s $14,999 Alabar Handicap for C3 to OC trotters. Trainer-driver Todd Mitchell is very happy with where his stable star is at. “We won’t be heading south and perhaps Australia could be an option after his December races. "At this stage we will play it one race at a time, but he’s come back bigger and stronger this time in and I couldn’t be happier with him even though he has only had a couple of trials,” Mitchell said. Prime Power has recently been trialling with a galloping pacemaker and Mitchell also gave him a run on the Raglan Beach. “He was unplaced from 60 metres behind in a workout a couple of weeks ago and before than on October 18 he won a four-horse workout by 16 lengths. "I’ve tried to get as much work into him as possible. “He can win on Friday but will be better for the run. "Forty metres behind is a big ask but it’s negated a bit by the small field, so I think he is good enough to go close fresh-up,” said Mitchell. Mitchell said Prime Power had niggles before the Jewels but more than five months off the scene has seen those problems disappear. “I just want to see him back to his best and I think he can get there this campaign. "The thought of Christchurch never really entered my mind. "If we did go it would have been for the Free-For-All,” Mitchell said. Prime Power has won 11 of his 25 starts – 8 of them on his home track and seven over tonight's 2700m standing start distance. The toughest for him to beat will be the John and Josh Dickie trained consistent Pegasus Spur 6-year-old brown mare, Miss Pegasus. She was a gutsy second behind Cool Cobber when second favourite at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago and two week’s prior to that run she was an easy winner of a C3 to OC trot at Alexandra Park. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

Last week saw a big improvement from the week before but the team of tipsters are still not really at peak yet. Maurice McKendry, Sean McCaffrey, Todd Mitchell, Todd Macfarlane, Matthew Williamson and Steve Richardson from the TAB all nabbed winners while another five managed placings. As we countdown to Cup week, there are once again five meetings nationwide and we have selections for all of them. Forbury Park - Thursday night Craig Thornley - Likes Smart Caesar from a mobile to be hard to beat in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Pegasus Kommander from barrier 2 would be hard to beat in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Dwindle Mist is on the improve and can take out race 7   Auckland - Friday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thought the central districts visitor Our Wicklow would be hard in race 1 Maurice Mckendry - Rates the chances of The Orange Agent in race 2 Scott Phelan - Thinks Chosen Path even from barrier 15 can win race 6 Zac Butcher - Likes Chachingchaching to upset Hughie Green in race 7 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Eyrewell Pegasus can overcome the 20 metre handicap and win race 8 Tony Herlihy - Likes stable runner Danger Mouse in the hands of Tony Cameron to win race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks A Chance To Dream from barrier 1 could win race 10   Addington - Friday night Jim Curtin - Thought Juliette Bromac was a real chance of winning race 2 Tim Williams - Rates Have Faith In Me back to a maiden very hard to beat, also in race 2  Robbie Holmes - Rates Tehoro Ruby a chance to upset from the mobile in race 3 John Dunn - Likes Monumental to turn his form around in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Confident that Stradowan has improved from first up run and can win race 8   Riverton - Sunday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Majestic Stride a real show of winning race 3 Matthew Williamson - Thought Alley Way even from 50 metres should be too good for them in race 5 Clark Barron - Thinks with natural improvement Sheeza Shark won't be far away in race 7 Dexter Dunn - Likes Courage To Fly to end his run of seconds and win race 8   Kaikoura - Monday afternoon Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought star trialist Princess Galleon could win race 1 Blair Orange - Couldn't see Mighty Flying Major beaten in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Carrickmannon could trouble Webb Ellis and Highview Freddy in race 4 Ricky May - Confident that Mel Gibson can go one better than his last start and win race 5 Sam Ottley - Thinks Price Of Fame will go very close also in race 5 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Norvic Nightowl a real chance in the Kaikoura Cup, race 8    Harnesslink Media

Well known Reporoa harness racing enthusiast Danny McGill has had a lot of smart horses over the years and in last nights Alexandra Park winner Elliesjet  he seems to have another one to keep the bank manager happy. Danny has had a great run over the years breeding such smart types as Magie Lilly Rose 1:54.1 ($202,718), Golden Trowel 1:52.4 ($117,056) and Maximus Meridius 1:52.3 ($109,515). His latest winner though has been a bit of a surprise to the noted stockman. "She is a big filly, I mean really big and I didn't think she would have any speed," he told Harnesslink today. By Jeremes Jet from the speedy Village Jasper mare Elle Mary Rose 2:00.7, Elliesjet has been given plenty of time to grow into her large frame. "The original plan was to get her up and running and try to sell her but after after the way she has gone the last two weeks we have taken the for sale sign down," Danny said today. The 4 year old mare was having just her third lifetime start last night and on the back of a super third last week was warmly supported even though she drew the outside of the second row. Patiently driven in the early stages by driver Todd Mitchell, Elliesjet settled back in the running line before Todd sent her forward after 600 metres to grab the lead. From there it turned into a procession as Elliesjet gradually increased the tempo and then powered away in the home straight for an emphatic win by four lengths. Elliesjet paced the 2200 metres in 2:45.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 28.9 Today Danny was musing that you should never judge a book by its cover. " Todd said she absolutely jogged it and had plenty left at the finish so thats very encouraging,"  "Gareth Dixon (trainer) has suggested we should look at some of the support races over the Xmas carnival at Auckland so thats where we are heading,"  he said. Its been a big week for Danny as a half sister to Elliesjet in Annie Morva was successful at Menangle last Saturday night. "She ran second in the Ladyship stakes to Adore Me at three at Alexandra Park and then we sent her to Blake Fitzpatrick in Sydney to race. "Its worked out really well as she has topped the $100,000 mark in earnings and took a mark of 1:52.9 when she won last week," Danny said Danny almost made it a trifecta for the week as a breeder when the trotter he bred Al Bundy was an unlucky third at Alexandra Park last night. With Elliesjet and Annie Morva in such fine form, Danny looks in for a very profitable summer over the next few months. Harnesslink Media  

Last week we got a good old fashioned kick up the butt with just three of our tipsters selecting a winner and only six overall were in the money. Blair Orange, Terry Chmiel and Nathan Williamson furthered their good record as selectors whilst there were plenty of hard luck stories from others all over the country. They start with a clean slate this week and have come up with plenty of value for readers with plenty of runners whose form is not the best but who our selectors give a real chance to. Manawatu - Thursday night Scott Phelan - Even though he has drawn the second row thinks Art Magic should win race 3   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thought Elliesjet even from barrier 12 would be hard to beat in race1 Steven Reid - Very bullish about Unforgiving from barrier one in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes The Orange Agent to upset Unforgiving in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Boizel even off 40 metres can win race 5 Tony Herlihy - Rates Downunder Stride from barrier one as hard to beat in race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Le Lua Invasion a good chance against the fillies and mares in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green will atone for last week and win race 8 Zac Butcher - Likes Saffron Castleton to turn her form around in race 9   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Quaint Glen a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 Tim Williams - Confident that Adore Me's little brother Have Faith In Me can win race 6 John Dunn - Feedback from stable suggests Light Up Boss will win race 7 if driver at his best Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox just needs a change of luck to win race 8 Sam Ottley - Quite keen on Bird Of Paradise to turn her form around in race 10     Manawatu - Sunday afternoon Todd Macfarlane - Rates Hudy Haxwell a royal show on the second day at Manawatu Peter Scaife - Gives Johnny Vegas a big chance on the second day at Manawatu   Tuapeka - Sunday afternoon Dexter Dunn - Reckons Margarita can make it four wins from her last five in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way can go one better than last week and win race 7 Nathan Williamson - Likes stablerunner Onedin Mach to make it four in a row in race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought Drover's Eyre would be tough to roll in race 11   Ashburton - Monday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Confident that Never Fear can turn her form around in race 1 Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue and can win race 2 Ricky May - Keen on Brilliant Strike who has a decent draw for once to win race 4 Terry Chmiel -Thought That Guy Finn even in that super hot field can win race 6   Harnesslink Media

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