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Tony Cameron knows all about the ebbs and flows of harness racing, and that’s why he’s happy to keep riding the crest of his current wave at Alexandra Park tonight. The 29-year-old Ardmore horseman has had three wins in June to go along with the five he had in April. Expect that good vein of form to continue again tonight when Cameron climbs into the sulky five times. “I’ve started to get a few more drives this year and I feel like I’m driving okay. I feel in good form. I just want to keep on riding the crest of the wave while I can because everyone knows in racing there are highs and lows. “But my wins this year have pushed me past my career best and I’m rapt with that,” said the Tony Herlihy (MNZM) employee. Cameron has saluted the judge 14times ($87,696) this season - four more than his previous best season of 10 ($76,627) in 2015-2016. Just two of his wins have been at Alexandra Park. All up Cameron has now reined home 36 winners and 60 place-getters ($266,350) since taking out his junior licence in 2012. His UDR strike-rate this season is a stunning 0.3003. He sits third on the North Island Junior Driving Premiership with 14 wins - five behind pace-setter, Dylan Ferguson. And to add further spice to his good form of late, Cameron was just named in the North island Junior Driving team alongside Ferguson, Jack MacKinnon, Ben Butcher, Robert Argue and Mark Johnson to compete in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Forbury Park and Addington next month. The South Island team is Sheree Tomlinson, Katie Cox, Kimberley Butt, John Morrison, Matt Anderson and Rory McIlwrick. “All I want to do is keep racking up winners and then premierships and Championships will take care of themselves. “It is encouraging though that more people are recognising my driving. I have been learning from the best for a while now and I am grateful for all the support Tony (Herlihy) and all the other trainers and owners have given me,” Cameron said. Cameron has five “nice” drives tonight – three of which are behind his boss’s pacers. His hatrick of victories this month have come behind the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained Princess Mackendon at Alexandra Park on June 9; the Herlihy trained Shadow Pass at Cambridge Raceway on June 8; and the Herlihy trained Bettors Pocket, also at 'The Park', on June 2. Cameron will drive two of those horses again tonight. He's what he had to say about his quintet. Race 3: The Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained Ultimate Angel (9) – "She’s had three runs back this time in and I have driven in all three. She has got a nice feel about her and the draw suits her more than being wide out. Hopefully we can get a run through and get some of it. She’s an honest little filly. Each-way chance here.” Race 4: The Michelle Wallis & Bernie Hackett trained Makarewa Jake (16) – "He has drawn the back-mark of 20 metres and this will be my first drive behind him. I think he’s an honest old fella who does things right. Place chance.” Race 6: The Michelle Wallis & Bernie Hackett trained Princess Mackendon (16) – "She’s a nice mare who won well for me last start. I’ve driven her to win a couple of times now, so hopefully it can carry on this week. There are a couple of smart ones in the field but she is capable of figuring thereabouts.” Race 9: The Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained Bettors Pocket (6) - "He would probably be my best drive of the night. He is working well and if he can step away from his 10m handicap then I think he could be hard to beat. I’ve driven him to win and place in his last couple of starts and I can see no reason why that good form couldn’t continue in this race. I thought he was a bit of a sprinter at first but he can definitely stay as well. Each-way. Race 10: The Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained Gotta Moment (7) - "The 3-year-old -old gelding who is having his first start back (since November 2016). He was favourite when he ran second and he went some nice races in his first campaign. He's just going to get experience and when he does her will win a few. The draw could have been better but he's still worth an each-way bet." Duane Ranger

The 25th annual North Island Harness Racing Awards, which will be held at Alexandra Park on Saturday September 2, has attracted three sponsors. The prize-giving ceremony will be known as the Always B Miki North Island Harness Racing Awards. Alabar and Nevele R Studs are also sponsors. The function is again being organised by Raelene Balle, Janene Cole, Karen Blanchard, and Suzanne Herlihy. "We are so looking forward to the 25th anniversary awards. We are very grateful to our sponsors who remain so loyal sponsoring us year on year, and big thanks also goes to Always B Miki, who has come on board," Pukekohe-based Balle said. Always B Miki, who is the fastest horse of all-time (1:46), was also the 2016 USA Horse-of-the-Year. He is the only horse to have ever won four races in 1:47 or faster. His semen can be obtained at Nevele R Stud. Balle said pre-dinner drinks would start at in the Tasman Room at 5.30pm before crossing over to Lyell Creek Lounge for the awards. Tickets are $130 a head but Balle said junior drivers and cadets were fully subsidised. "The price includes a three-course, drinks, and a live band named 'Split Second'. Formal dress (tie and jacket) is required. Tickets can ordered by phoning Suzanne on 027 407 1057," said Balle. Last year’s award ceremony was highlighted by Luk Chin, and the late John Butcher and his wife Colleen. Twenty two awards were up for grabs at that annual function sponsored by A Rocknroll Hanover, but it was the Waikato trio which won the two most prestigious prizes on offer. Chin won the ‘Racing Achievement Award’ while the Butcher husband and wife duo were presented with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing Award’. Speeding Spur and Have Faith In Me won the respective Trotter and Pacer-of-the-Year titles. "We have had some amazing highlights over the years. Two years ago we raised nearly $10,000 for little Ashlee Small, who was born with Down Syndrome and at the time was being treated for leukemia. "That was such a deserving cause and it was so lovely our harness racing community rallied together to support one of our own families. "Then there was the year Tony Herlihy (MNZM) drove 3,000 driving winners. He had no idea we planned such a celebration for him. "Other standouts include Brent Mangos and James Stormont both getting to 1,000 wins, and Maurice McKendry's 3000 winners. Both him and Tony have now each been bestowed with a Queen Services medal (MNZM)," Balle said. She said honouring other greats in years gone-by like John and Colleen Butcher, the late John Devlin, Peter Wolfenden, Alec McDonald, and Alby Gain "It’s so lovely we can recognise such amazing achievements over the years. We have had some very memorable times in years gone by, but I'll never forget Ashlee Small's benefit in 2015. "I was blown away by the generosity and felt very privileged to be able to assist them in that way, and making the phone call to Ian and Tracey the day after the awards to deliver the good news - they were overwhelmed with the generosity and so grateful,” Balle said. “It’s just so rewarding to be part of the ‘Fab 4’ and organise awards for such deserving people in our industry,” she stressed. Tickets and the names of nominees will be released in mid-August. Duane Ranger

Jack MacKinnon looks set to claim the 2016-2017 Alexandra Park Driving title despite being four wins behind the North Island's leading junior - Dylan Ferguson on the national premiership. MacKinnon (KD Hall), Ben Butcher (Red Magic) and Robert Argue (Primus Inter Pares) all had good wins at Cambridge raceway last Friday night. Ironically MacKinnon still trails Dylan Ferguson by seven points on the Cambridge Junior Driving Premiership as well. “I’m 21 now and really want to win as many races as I can before the end of the season. There are some good junior drivers out there and I want to win every premiership that’s going,” Pukekohe-based MacKinnon said. North Island Premiership tables read (top five as at June 20): JUNIORS: Leading North Island Junior Driver (national premiership): 1)     Dylan Ferguson 19 wins from 208 drives; 2) Jack MacKinnon 15 wins from 112 drives; 3) Tony Cameron 14 wins from 64 drives; 4) Ben Butcher 13 wins from 178 drives; 5) Robert Argue 11 wins from 118 drives. Alexandra Park Junior Drivers Premiership: 1)     Jack MacKinnon 9 wins from 68 starts; 2) Sean Grayling (NSW) 8 wins from 68 starts; 3) Robert Argue 5 wins from 54 starts; 4) Dylan Ferguson 3 wins from 42 starts; 5) Tony Cameron 2 wins from 24 starts.  Cambridge Raceway Junior Driver: 1)     Dylan Ferguson 22 points; 2) Jack MacKinnon 15 points; 3=) Robert Argue 13 points; 3= Tony Cameron 13 points; 5) Mark Johnson 12 points.   Meanwhile, Tony Herlihy (MNZM) has won the Alexandra Park training and driving titles for several years now, there will be new champions crowned at ‘The Park’ in 2016-2017.   DRIVING PREMIERSHIPS: Leading North Island Driver (national premiership): 1)     David Butcher 68 wins from 443 drives; 2) John Dunn 65 wins from 525 drives; 3) Zac Butcher 45 wins from 290 drives; 4) Maurice McKendry (MNZM) 42 wins from 318 drives; 5) Sailesh Abernethy 33 wins from 302 drives. Alexandra Park Drivers Premiership: 1)     David Butcher 19 wins from 192 starts; 2) Maurice McKendry (MNZM) 28 wins from 199 starts; 3) Zac Butcher 26 wins from 172 starts; 4) Tony Herlihy (MNZM) 20 wins from 1972 starts; 5) Brent Mangos 20 wins from 132 starts. Cambridge Raceway Leading Driver (of trotters) points: 1)     David Butcher 39 points; 2) Todd Mitchell 29 points; 3) Josh Dickie 24 points; 4) Maurice McKendry 24 points; 5) Sailesh Abernethy 23 points.   TRAINERS PREMIERSHIPS: Leading North Island Trainer (national premiership): 1)     Robert Dunn 81 wins from 611 starts; 2) Barry Purdon 37 wins from 245 drives; 3) John & Josh Dickie 35 wins from 165 starts; 4) Steve Telfer & Chris Garlick 35 wins from 246 starts; 5) Tony Herlihy (MNZM) 33 wins from 226 starts. Alexandra Park Trainers (as of Tuesday June 20): 1)     Barry Purdon 25 wins from 173 starts; 2) Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen 23 wins from 76 starts; 3) John & Josh Dickie 23 wins from 115 starts; 4) Tony Herlihy (MNZM) 21 wins from 157 starts); 5) Ray Green 15 wins from 122 starts. Cambridge Raceway Leading Trainer: 1)     Steve Telfer & Chris Garlick 107 points; 2) Todd Mitchell 96 points; 3) Barry Purdon 86 points; 4) Tim Vince 73 points; 5) Mike Berger 96 points. Cambridge Raceway Trainer (of trotters) points: 1)     Geoff Martin 25 points; 2) James Stormont 24 points; 3) Nicky Chilcott 23 points; 4) Stephen Argue 22 points; 5) Todd Mitchell 21 points.   AMATEUR DRIVERS (North Islanders on the national premiership): 1)     Sheryl Wigg 10 wins from 22 drives; 2) Gerry Cronin 2 wins from 12 starters; 3) Danny Blakemore 2 wins from 14 starts; 4) David Branch 1 win from five starts; 5) Stephen Butcher 1 win from eight starts. Duane Ranger

Less than a week after joining Tony Herlihy in the MNZM ranks, Maurice McKendry believes he can go close to training his first winner of the season at Cambridge Raceway tonight. McKendry (62) was bestowed with the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit at the annual Queen’s Birthday Awards last weekend. The Methven born and raised horseman, who has won 3,185 races since 1975, is second only to Tony Herlihy (3,417) on the list of all-time winners in New Zealand harness racing history. McKendry has trained 115 winners since 1982 and has had one second and a third from 13 starters in 2016-2017, but feels he can go close to breaking his duck tonight. “Both Shanocon (race 2) and Shandance (race 4) are capable of winning. They have both worked well, and of the five I have in work, they would be my best two," McKendry said. McKendry will steer Shanocon from gate five in the $6,000 Ooby Ryn Cambridge Mobile for the maiden for the up to R49 pacers. "He's a nice enough colt who was a little bit disappointing last start at Alexandra Park. He's better than what he showed that night and from the handy draw I think we will push forward. “I’m happy with the way he has progressed since that run and if he doesn’t win he can certainly place,” McKendry said. The 3-year-old Bettor's Delight - Veste colt has had one start at Cambridge for an encouraging second behind Father Frank on February 16. Although Shandance had drawn the outside of the front row, McKendry believed the 2-year-old Art Major filly could go also close in the $6,000 C N Taylor Consulting Mobile for the maiden pacers. "She's lightly raced but goes okay. She's a nice little filly who only needs time, but in saying that she can win first-up at Cambridge. "She went nice on debut at Auckland last month (fourth - May 12) and then was ordinary next start. She's in the same boat as her stablemate - good enough to win and certainly good enough to place," the Pukekohe horseman said. Shandance is the full sister to the former McKendry trained Shandale, who won eight races here, and is now plying his trade in Australia. Their dam is Delightful Dale, a 9-year-old Bettor's Delight mare who qualified for Gareth Dixon in 2010, but never raced. Meanwhile, McKendry has five drives at Cambridge Raceway tonight. He said the stablemates were his best winning chances, but also be wary of the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained Donna May in race three; the Scott Dickson trained Ralph Elliott in race six; and the Eddy Clarke trained Will Desire in the last event (race eight). Donna May looks the pick of the rest but she will have to get past the likely favourite, Majestic One, who has drawn seven compared to Donna May’s eight. Duane Ranger

Maurice McKendry believes his recognition in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours is more a reflection on the people who have helped him achieve all the success he has had in his career more so than of his own accomplishments.  The Methven born and raised horseman, who is second only to Tony Herlihy on the list of all-time winners in the history of harness racing in New Zealand, was made a a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today’s honour’s list - an achievement the humble and quietly spoken star of the sulky was rather chuffed about.  “It’s a huge honour and something I’m quite proud of,” McKendry said.  “But it’s also a great thing for the harness racing industry to be recognised as well.  “I think something like this is more for all the people who have helped me out along the way too and I’ve been very lucky.” McKendry relocated from Methven as a youngster and based himself in the North Island with his first winner coming at Cambridge in 1975 when he drove Pleasant Command to success.  In the following 42 years he’s saluted 3,184 more times in New Zealand, 33 of those coming at the Group One level.  Race Ruler, Dillon Dean, David Moss, Classical, Sovereignty, Sir Lincoln and in more recent years The Orange Agent have been top-liners to have enjoyed the services of McKendry in the sulky.  “I’ve been able to drive some wonderful horses which helps the cause a lot, you need good horses.  “I still really enjoying being out there, I just probably don’t chase it as much as what I used to, but you are always on the lookout for that next one.” McKendry keeps himself busy with a small team of his own that he trains and with 115 winners next to his name that number will increase in the coming years.  Matt Markham

The North Island’s leading reinsman, David Butcher, who is also fourth of the national driving premiership,drove half the card at Alexandra Park on Friday night. And in doing so the Cambridge driver also shot five wins clear at the top of the ‘Alexandra Park Driving Premiership’. His 31 wins are five more than his son, Zac, who has 26 wins with Maurice McKendry – and six more than Tony Herlihy (MNZM) 20, who is followed by Brent Mangos with 19. “It’s been a good season and it was a good night tonight. I just want to keep chippin' away and clocking up the winners – it doesn’t matter where it is. “The Alexandra Park premiership is far from parceled up, but I’d like to keep that young fella of mine at bay and win it so I can have the bragging rights. That would mean a lot because I cant him thinking he’s better than me just yet,” Butcher joked. The man they call ‘The Chief’, who has been victorious 66 times and amassed just under $700,000 in 2016-2017, drove the winners of four of the eight races at northern headquarters. They were behind the Ross Paynter trained Royal Willie in race two; the Geoff Small trained Zadaka in race three; the Ray Green trained Royal Lincoln in the fifth event; and the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard trained Lovely Bundy in race seven. Butcher thought the latter mare won nicely. “It’s the first time I’ve driven her and she felt real nice throughout - though she did switch off a bit when she hit the front. She seems to do things right and Peter and Vaughan appear to have her manners sorted out. “The other three were goodwins too also, but I thought that mare felt nice in winning,” Butcher said. Butcher sat parked with the Love You - Kelly Bundy mare for the final 1100m of the 2200m stand. In the lane they had too much sprint for place-getters, Torbjorn (Richard Brosnan) and Tereskova (Dr Luk Chin). The 5-year-old bay got home by one-and-three-quarter lengths and a nose, trotting the $14,999 Fresher Foods Handicap for the R61 to R89 squaregaiters in 2:50.8 (mile rate 2:04.9), and came home in 61.3 and 30.5. Lovely Bundy was the $2.60 favourite and it was her third win in 14 starts for owners Garrick Knight, Susan Grant, Dan Magill, Revel Knight, Wendy Robinson, and the Hoof It Racing Syndicate. She was bred by Magill and Trevor Hansen.   Duane Ranger

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

Steven Reid knows he’s taking a gamble but an impressive workout at Pukekohe last Saturday has convinced the Franklin conditioner to take Star Galleria south and try and qualify him for the Harness Jewels Final. Star Galleria and Tony Herlihy (MNZM) will start from gate four in tonight's Garrards New Zealand Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic for the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The Listed 1950m mobile is worth $40,000 and Reid knows he is going to have to finish in the first two to qualify for the Group One $150,000 3yo Emerald at Ashburton Raceway on June 3. Star Galleria is currently ranked 21 and has earned $23,675 this season. He needs another $8,711 to make the 12-strong final. “It’s a bit of a punt. He went so well at the workouts on Saturday I just had to give him his chance to line up against the best. I honestly think he’s a very good 3-year-old and at his best would hold his own against the guns,” Reid said. Six months ago Reid would have given him little chance of heading south. The Art Major gelding kicked out at a gate and suffered serious leg injuries. “He suffered a massive hole in his leg and I actually thought that might be his career all over before it hardly started. The vet told me if the hole had been three or four inches lower on the hock that would have been the end of him ever racing again. “He left last night (Monday) and I’ll go down later in the week. Simon (McMullan) is looking after him,” Reid said. Star Galleria and Reid trailed Alta Intrigue for most of Saturday's left handed R64 to R77 Workout. In the lane they strolled passed the pace-maker to win by half a length under a huge hold. The gifted bay paced the 2500m mobile in 3:12.9 (mile rate 2:04 even) and home in 57.7 and 27.1. “I actually timed him to go 26.8. I never let him go. That was a pretty nice win and showed me that he’s back. He was once exceptional in work but it’s taken him a long time after his injury to get back to where he should be. “He’s starting to show signs of his old self and if he keeps improving like I think he can win on Friday. It won’t be easier but he is one of the better 3-year-olds I have ever put a bridle on and he feels like the old Star Galleria again,” Reid said. Reid said he regretted throwing Star Galleria into the deep end and then backed him up when he resumed from his spell at Alexandra Park on April 21 and 28. “They went 2:39 in his first run back for almost five months and then the following week they went 2:36.9. That’s a hell of a big ask after what he went through. You can’t change history but looking back now I shouldn’t have backed him up,” said Reid. Star Galleria was fifth in both of those races finishing two-and-a-half lengths and six lengths from the winners respectively. If he doesn’t finish in the first two on Friday Reid said he would bring the gelding home and then possibly look at the Queensland Derby in Brisbane in July. He is not paid up for the Breeders’ Crown. Star Galleria has raced six times this season for two wins. All-up his career record stands at seven starts, three wins, no placings and $34,44 in stakes. Reid owns him with his breeder Reg Caldow and John Screen and Terese Screen. Duane Ranger

Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are the leading conditioners at Alexandra Park this season, but don’t expect the Canterbury duo to claim the track’s training premiership in 2016-2017. Purdon and Rasmussen are currently one and three wins ahead of Barry Purdon and Tony Herlihy (MNZM) respectively. “We’ve got two horses racing at Alexandra Park this Friday and then after that we will be all finished at ‘The Park’ for the season. “Group races are where we are concentrating at present. You don’t get anything for winning training premierships. We always enjoy racing at Alexandra Park and hopefully we can finish in style on Friday,” Rasmussen said. On Friday the All Stars Stable will line up Regal Love in the eighth event - the $14,999 Primor Produce Handicap for the R62 to R98 totters, and A Lister in the last race – the $12,000 Jarvis Mobile for 2-year-old and older pacers. They will be driven by Brent Mangos and Herlihy respectively. “Regal Love is racing around to get some form back while A Lister is trying to accumulate points for the Jewels Final. I think they bare both good chances, but the Jewels Finals are now our immediate priority,” said Rasmussen. Purdon and Rasmussen’s record at Alexandra Park this season has been stunning to say the least. They lead the national training premiership from Robert Dunn by 19 with 93 wins. Twenty three of those wins have come at Alexandra Park - an amazing feat considering they have only lined up 74 starters at Alexandra Park this season. They have also placed 24 times and boast an amazing 0.4640 UDR strike-rate. “It’s been another good year both down here and in the north. Dream About Me’s Auckland Cup was a highlight as were Lazarus’s wins up there. We will be back in the new season around Christmas time,” Rasmussen said. Duane Ranger

Doug Donaldson’s drive from Auckland to Tauranga last Friday night took about 15 minutes instead of the usual 150. Well that’s what the 212km journey seemed like for the overwhelmed Rowe Cup winning owner. Donaldson and his wife Lenore had to leave Alexandra Park soon after the prestigious Group One event bound for a friend’s 70th birthday in Tauranga. “I hardly noticed the travel at all. We were on a high from start to finish – and still are (Sunday). I still can’t believe this has happened. “I thought if he could run in four I’d be happy, but to win it he would need to have all the favours go his way. I’m not sure when I will get down from cloud nine,” Donaldson said. The Kaiwaka 75-year-old co-owns last Friday night’s Rowe Cup champion – Temporale, who in the hands of his trainer Tony Herlihy (MNZM) became just the second 4-year-old trotter in 99 years to win the coveted time-honoured event. Herlihy’s wife Suzanne also has a share in Temporale, as does Auckland Trotting Club Board Director, Dene Biddlecombe; and Victorian, Kevin Riseley who also co-owns New Zealand Cup champion, Lazarus. But like most harness racing pundits, a couple of months ago Donaldson thought last year’s North Island 3-Year-Old Trotter-of-the-Year was too young and inexperienced to compete in an arduous 3200m staying test. That was until the owners listened to what ‘The Iceman’ - aka Tony Herlihy had to say. “He said the two miles wouldn’t bother the horse and that last year’s (August) trip across the Tasman was the making of him. I agree he’s a whole new horse at four compared to when he was three. He’s matured a lot. “Last season he was a bit fractious and as a 2-year-old he was unsettled. He’s a whole new horse now. Tony said when he took him to the Breeder’s Crown that he might not necessarily win over there, but the trip would be the making of him. He was spot on. “He steps well and his gait is now very fluent – and he’s just four. I think there are more good times ahead, hopefully starting with the Jewels Final in Ashburton early next month,” said Donaldson. But even turning for home last Friday night, Donaldson thought Temporale was running for place money. “We had the favourite (Habibti Ivy) in front of us and she was sitting in the trail. Even at that stage I thought the South Island trained horse would win. “Then what amazing acceleration in the last 20 metres to win! We all know Tony is one of the best we have seen in the bike. He certainly proved that on Friday,” Donaldson said. “In fact the win showed his all-round class and just what a great trainer and driver he really is,” he added. Donaldson has given more than a decade’s loyalty to Herlihy’s ‘Strike Won Stable’ at annual yearling sales over the years. Temporale is so far his best purchase. The owners paid $22,000 to Studholme Bloodstock for the Monarchy - Whosinthenest colt at the 2014 Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch. After placing last season in the Group One Northern Trotting Derby and the Group Two NZ Sires Stakes Trotting Championship, Temporale nailed his first Group win in the Group Three Greenlane Cup on March 10. “That’s when I felt he turned the corner and thought maybe he could win a Group One race one day. But wow I didn’t think it would be a big one like the Rowe Cup so soon. "He's a much stronger and bigger horse this time in. The spell also did him the world of good,” said Donaldson. Donaldson's first purchase with Herlihy was at the 1999 Yearling Sales when he went in on a Gee Whizz II - Classic Dee gelding named Cautious Spirit. He won four races for Herlihy between 2001 and 2003. Herlihy reignited his training career in 2001-2002 with 54 winners and $508,819 in stakes. He's averaged those earnings every season since. Donaldson also paddocks Temporale and other Herlihy and (Michelle) Wallis and (Bernie) Hackett stable representatives at his Kaiwaka property when they are spelling. Temporale was bred by Graeme (’Pup’) Hulston and his wife Bev from West Melton. Duane Ranger

Sometimes you just can't beat experience. Harness racing driver Tony Herlihy, 58, showed all of his in driving Temporale to an upset win in the Group I $150,000 Rowe Cup Trot at Alexandra Park in Auckland on Friday night. Herlihy joined the great Peter Wolfenden at the top of the Rowe Cup (3200m) honours board with his fifth winning drive in harness racing's big northern trot - and he did it with an inch-perfect run. As the field fanned out in the home straight, Herlihy stayed cool on the marker pegs and when favourite Habibti Ivy moved out just enough, he and Temporale pounced, going to the line easily, to beat Habibti Ivy, drvien by Blair Orange, by a long neck. Bordeaux, who raced outside the leader, battled gamely for third. "Blair's mare moved out in the straight and gave us just enough room to get through without touching a marker peg," a smiling Herlihy told Trackside. READ MORE: Too easy for Lazarus in the Taylor Mile Temporale has been one of the rising trotters in the north and didn't deserve to be at a $35 price after a stout fourth in the Anzac Cup a week earlier. The four-year-old was a big horse, who was continuing to develop, Herlihy, the horse's trainer, said. Herlihy's wife Suzanne is one of the owners of the horse. His previous wins in the cup were behind Gee du Jour (1991), Diamond Field (1994) and One Over Kenny (2007 and 2009). Temporale It was a case of deja vu in the main pacing race, with Lazarus leading home the same All Stars trifecta as the Taylor Mile a week earlier. From his inside barrier, Lazarus scorched to an early lead and was untroubled to win, even though Waikiki Beach got as close as a neck on the line. Golden Goddess boxed on well for third. It was Lazarus 12th Group I win, and his 27th from 32 starts overall. He will now go for a spell before returning for the spring. Lazarus His win was the second Group I victory of the night for the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen combination, after the classy Elle Mac claimed the 2YO Sires Stakes Championship, while Enghien was far too good in the night's other Group I the Northern Trotting Derby for three-year-old trotters.  Both horses won Group I races the week before. Elle Mac Enghien Reprinted with permission of Stuff

Sometimes once you break the drought its keep raining. And that was the case on two fronts when Temporale caused one of the biggest upsets of the harness racing season in the $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Group one trotting winners at 34-1 are rare in New Zealand but a fast start and perfect run on the markers saw the four-year-old outsprint favourites Habibti Ivy and Bordeaux in the north’s richest trot. And that is where the broken drought comes in. Until last season no four-year-old in over 30 years had won the Rowe Cup - Monbet did it in 2016 and now Temporale has made it two in a row. More remarkably, until The Orange Agent won the Breeders Stakes at Addington a few weeks ago New Zealand’s greatest ever reinsman Tony Herlihy had been undergoing his own personal drought, with no group one driving wins in over three years. Now he has two in April and also trains Temporale, with his wife Suzanne also sharing in the ownership. Herlihy thought Friday night’s race may have been a year too soon for Temporale but his drive helped enormously and the son of Monarchy looks like being a factor in open class trotting for years to come. His win also started a stunning double for one of Temporale’s owners Kevin Riseley, who also shares in the ownership of Lazarus, who 30 minutes later ended his season with an effortless win the Messenger Pace. He led and outsprinted stablemate Waikiki Beach in a 54 second last 800m, with Riseley watching from Australia as his four-year-olds completed the group one dream double. Earlier in the night Elle Mac in the Sires’ Stakes Fillies Final and Enghien in the Northern Trotting Derby ended any arguments over who is the best of their respective crops when they bolted in. Enghien added gate speed to his arsenal and led all the way while Elle Mac overcome a second line draw over 1700m to remain unbeaten.   Michael Guerin    

In a dramatic climax to the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, emerging harness racing stayer Temporale proved triumphant tonight (Friday) in the Gr.1 $156,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park. Prepared by champion horseman Tony Herlihy, the four-year-old Monarchy gelding finished fast along the passing lane to beat quality mare and race favourite Habibti Ivy and Bordeaux in a driving finish. The victory provided Herlihy with his 5th success in the event. Previous winners came via Gee Du Jour (1991), Diamond Field (1994) and One Over Kenny (2007 & 09). Beginning brilliantly to lead, Temporale was quickly taken on by Habibti Ivy before Prime Power attacked for the premier position. With Todd Mitchell dictating terms in front with Prime Power, the lead time was covered in 2:07.1 while Habibti Ivy and Temporale both secured soft trips on the inside. The first half of the final mile was covered in 32.9 and 30.1 seconds. With little or no pressure applied to Prime Power, the race quickly developed into a sprint home with those close to the marker line holding the advantage. Heading off the back straight, Prime Power tripped the third quarter in 28.8 seconds while Habibti Ivy and Temporale sat poised waiting on the passing lane. In the straight, Habibti Ivy quickly raced to the lead but Temporale was coming fast deep into the sprint lane and scored by a neck margin at the finish with a further length away to Bordeaux in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.8 seconds. The Cup was covered in 4:07.9 – a mile rate of 2:04.6, well outside of the race record of 4:03.6 which is held by Stent who set the mark in 2015. “He’s a nice little trotter that got away perfectly and ended up with easy trip on the inside, he sprinted really well in the straight and it’s a pleasing victory.” Herlihy said. Since returning from a break, Temporale has been placed in four of his five starts which includes two victories. Temporale has now won 6 of his 18 starts with 9 minor placings while amassing more than $170,000. Temporale Not only were runners vying for the lucrative prizemoney and bragging rights for the North Island’s major trotting event, the race was on to be crowned the Trotting Master for the current term. Heading into the final leg of the five race series, the leaderboard was a logjam with 11 runners a chance of picking up the title. Sydney trained performer On Thunder Road led the way with 101 points but connections elected to bypass the remaining two legs staged in Auckland during the past week leaving the door open for a New Zealander to swoop. And swoop they did. With her victory last week in the ANZAC Cup followed by her second placing in the Rowe Cup, flashy mare Habibti Ivy has come from virtual obscurity to be crowned the 2016/17 Trotting Master. Habibti Ivy is prepared by Paul Nairn. Chris Barsby

Don’t be put off by Walkinshaw’s terrible standing start record in the $25,000 Country Cups Final at Cambridge today. Because if the best version of the smart four-year-old turns up he can overcome his 20m handicap, even on a track where chasing can be hard work. The field brings together mainly the journeymen of the country pacing circuit, whereas Walkinshaw and Bettor Spirits are genuine Alexandra Park horses who have raced in the big time. Walkinshaw finished third to Lazarus and Chase The Dream in last season’s Northern Derby but has failed to reach those heights this campaign. “He has had some up and down runs but the grade he is racing in can be very, very tough especially at the carnivals,”says trainer-driver Tony Herlihy. Which is one reason Walkinshaw has had five standing start races without a placing. Two of his most recent stands have been behind superstars in Vincent and Heaven Rocks at Alex Park premier meeting, while another of his standing start failures was in the Sales Series Pace at Kaikoura. The last was in the Hawera Cup last start when he clearly didn’t handle the softer track so his poor stand statistics may not be relevant and with the front line for today’s 2700m stand not overly imposing he looks the one to beat. “You always need luck in this sort of race at Cambridge but he is well and he can definitely win,” said Herlihy. Bettor Spirits has similar career highlights to Walkinshaw but his manners early and luck from the 30m backmark could decide his chances. Victory with either Eldolar or Imajollywally in the Final could cap a huge season for trainer Arna Donnelly, who has been in career-best form. With a stable lacking any high-priced stars Donnelly has won a personal best 24 races this season, taking her past the 100 career training wins and she sits an impressive 14th on the national trainers premiership. One of the other highlights of today’s twilight meeting will be another northern two-year-old trot, races which have been better supported early this season than in the past. If Paramount King trots all the way he should win race one as he uses the race as his final trial before heading southern to take on baby trotters who have been racing in far bigger fields. “Our horse may not have the experience some of the southerners have but we think he is pretty good,” said trainer John Dickie, one of the best in the business with young trotters. Michael Guerin

Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins will unleash their 2-year-old filly, Gottabearose and Cambridge Raceway on Thursday, but Positano is a better winning chance in the second event. Gottabearose has drawn three, of seven, in the fourth race - the $7,000 Autex Industries Maiden for the 2-year-old pacers, whereas Positano has copped the widest second row draw in the NSSC Mobile for maiden pacers. "It wouldn't surprise me if Gottabearose won on debut. She's good enough but at this stage of her career she just lacks a bit of ringcraft and confidence. "Positano has had nine starts and has been real consistent of late. He's a nice 3-year-old gelding who just needs luck in the running from gate 14," said Tate Hopkins who trains the duo with Frank Cooney at Taupaki. Gottabearose is the third of four foals out of the two-win 2002 Live Or Die mare, Gottabeseptember. Gottabearose finished fifth (of five) when qualifying 4.4 seconds under time at Pukekohe last Saturday. The Sir Lincoln filly finished half a second behind winner, Caitlyn Clarke and Scott Phelan. "Whatever happens on Thursday she will benefit from the run. She appears to be an honest filly who tries her guts out, and from gate three she will have every show. "We are working about 14 horses at the moment - six of which are two-year-olds. This filly would rate third or fourth best 2-year-old we have got. Last week’s winner Churchill Downs is right up there," Hopkins said. Maurice McKendry drove Gottabearose to qualify, but has opted to drive the likely favourite - the Robert Dunn trained De Lancome in the 2-year-old pace. James Stormont will drive Gottabearose. De Lancome was a beaten four-length favourite when making his debut at Alexandra Park last Friday night. He drew two that night and has copped the one marble on Thursday. That run would have done him the world of good. Hopkins said regular reinsman, Tony Herlihy (MNZM) would again drive Positano, who has placed four times from nine lifetime starts and has a two from three place record at Cambridge - and four from nine over Thursday's 2200m mobile distance. “Sure he will need a bit of luck from out there but he’s been racing real well of late and has the driver to win. He went 2:46 when finishing a close-up fourth (from gate 10) at Alexandra Park last start. “That was an encouraging performance and this race doesn’t look any harder. He got well back and ran home well that night. We’ve only got two in on Thursday and he’s our best winning chance,” Hopkins said. Cooney and Hopkins have been training together since 2012-2013 and have trained 40 winners from 302 starters since then. They have so far conditioned six winners from 41 starters this season.   Duane Ranger

Tony Herlihy (MNZM) will be training two good chances in this year’s Rowe Cup and has chosen to drive Temporale over One Over Da Moon in the $150,000 Group One feature at Alexandra Park on April 28. “They are both progressing along nicely, but because Suzanne (wife) has a share in Temporale I will probably end up driving him in the Rowe Cup. “The other one is a bit more experienced and even though he hasn’t had much racing in him lately he tends to go well in a fresh state up here. I was pleased with his workout win on Saturday,” Herlihy said. One Over Da Moon and stable junior, Tony Cameron won a five-horse 2700m stand at Pukekohe on Saturday in 3:37.4 (mile rate 2:09.5) and came home in 57.6 and 28.8. The 6-year-old Majestic Son entire started from 40m behind and had one-and-a-quarter lengths and one-and-three-quarter lengths to spare over place-getters and 20m handicappers, KD Hall and Shady Sadie. That was One Over Da Moon's first run back since finishing 10th in the Dominion Trot at Addington Raceway on November 11. All-up he's won 21 of his 63 starts and placed in 10 others for $322,861 in lifetime stakes. One Over Da Moon never raced in last year's Rowe Cup but finished fourth behind Stent the year before. "I was happy with his run on Saturday. He seems well within himself. It will be a bit of an ask without having had much racing but like I said before he seems to race well in a fresh state. "He will have his first start, most probably alongside Temporale in the (Group One $80,000) Anzac Cup the week before the Rowe Cup," Herlihy said. He said he was also happy with Temporale’s second behind fellow 4-year-old Lemond in the feature trot at Alexandra Park last Friday – the $16,000 Haras des Trotteurs Mobile for the R81 and faster square gaiters. "He went well and is trotting nicely at the moment. He's got a few Rowe Cups ahead of him whereas the other one has 'been there and done that'. "Temporale is a promising young trotter who only needs time. He's certainly got the all-round game to go a bit further," Herlihy said. "I was really pleased with his Group Three win the start before," he added. Temporale proved too strong for The Mighty Johnson and Prime Power in that $26,000 Majestic Horse Floats Greenlane Cup. He won by five lengths and trotted the 2700m stand from in front in 3:29.9 (mile rate 2:05) and home in 58.4 and 29.3. Temporale has only ever been out of the money twice in 16 starts. He has recorded five wins and nine placings for $86,232 in stakes. Temporale has never lined up in an Anzac or Rowe Cup previously, but One Over Da Moon did finish fifth in the Anzac Cup two years ago behind Sheemon. “It would be nice to have them both start in such a prestigious race like the Rowe Cup. I am hoping they both get in,” he said. Herlihy has never won any of the previous five Anzac Cups but did train and drive One Over Da Moon’s dam – One Over Kenny to victory in the the Rowe Cup in 2007. He’s also driven three other Rowe Cup winners – Gee du Jour (1991), Diamond Field (1994), and One Over Kenny (2009). Only Peter Wolfenden has driven more Rowe Cup winners (five). They were behind Jewel Derby (1960), Single Cash twice (1968), Single Cash (also again in 1968), Framalda (1977) and Special Pride (1980).   Duane Ranger

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