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By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    After an intimidating win last start the question around Better’s Tart is : can she back up just a week later in Wednesday’s Ladyship Final at Ascot Park? In the Kubala Seeds Nugget Final the Brent White-trained three-year-old filly produced a run that left many observers gob-smacked. After drawing wide she got posted four wide, was three wide for a time, and then parked before getting to the lead at the 800 metre mark. Just when it seemed inevitable she’d stop she didn’t, with the $1.70 hotpot going on to win by three quarters of a length – White conceding it was “pretty impressive”, while commentator Justin Evans described it as “one heck of a run”. Now the challenge is to do it again seven days later, and the Ashburton-based White is relying on the word of Alister Black who’s looking after the horse at his Branxholme base in Southland. “I’m backing his judgement call and he took her for a quiet run Monday and says she’s good to go.” After Sam Ottley drove her in her last race, regular driver Stephen McNally will be back for the final and while Better’s Tart will likely be a pronounced favourite after her latest outing White is taking nothing for granted, especially from the outside of the front row over a mile. “I would have preferred 2400 metres but it is what it is.” “K Barclay is inside us and she’s never shy to go forward” The Kirstin Barclay – Tank Ellis runner he is talking about is impressive first up winner Wattlebank Star. She has drawn seven, with Better’s Tart immediately to her outside. White is also wary of Regan Todd’s Art Major filly Seventh Heaven. She was an unlucky sixth on debut after being hampered by a breaking runner on the first bend in her debut on January 13. She’ll be driven by the country’s top reinsman Blair Orange. If Better’s Tart wins the Ladyship Final it will be her third in a row from four career starts. By Bettor’s Delight out of three-win mare Top Tart , Better’s Tart ran second on debut at Methven, White saying “she didn’t handle the track at all – she didn’t like it” . She then followed that up with an impressive win after being parked at Winton on December 19, before her dominant performance last week at Ascot Park. Not bad for a horse that was passed in at the 2019 yearling sales. Owned and bred by Jane and David Timperley in South Canterbury they now also race the horse. While clearly liking what he’s seeing White’s not one to get too ahead of himself. In saying that though he is thinking of future targets for the filly, and they include the Nevele R 3YO fillies series, the Southland and New Zealand Oaks and the Harness Jewels in June.” “She’s coming home tomorrow (Wednesday), we’ve give her a freshen up and see what happens.”

The Central Otago Trotting Cup will be run after all, it’s been announced today. The race was cancelled after bad weather forced the abandonment of the Omakau races on January 2. But now it’s been decided the Group 3 Cup will be run at the Winton Harness Racing Club meeting on January 20. Stakes for the Cup have been set at $25,000. The decision comes after lengthy discussions between the Central Otago Trotting Club, the Winton Harness Racing Club and Southern Harness. The move is not unprecedented. In 2020 the Cup was abandoned after Ricky May’s medical event driving AG’s White Socks. He collapsed to the ground during the race and had to be revived. The Cup was later run at the Wyndham track on January 16. Heisenberg won the Cup for trainer Robert Dunn, and already there have been indications that two of the stable’s stars Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade will make the trek south from Canterbury for the Cup in little under a fortnight. Other runners in the original field have also indicated they will attend the event at Winton. For any more information contact Julie McEwan-Franks at Southern Harness. Phone: 03 2179117 | Fax: 03 2179117 | Mobile: 0274 390 660 Email:

Manners were the key to the harness racing Gold Chip Final at Winton today (New Years Eve). On one hand favourite Love N The Port broke and missed his chance to win, and on the other, Kiwitrix was on his best behaviour. It was a quick turnaround for Kiwitrix who was pulled up after breaking at Gore four days ago. “He was down on the inside and hit a bit of a soft patch and didn’t enjoy it,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson. After sitting fourth early in the running Williamson progressed forward to take the lead with a lap to run, while Love N The Port was making up lost ground. “I wasn’t aware of where he was but I did have a look round once I got to the lead at the 1000 and I couldn’t see him. That was quite good because I expected him to be around if he was trotting.” As Kiwitrix headed for home Williamson hardly had to move and he trotted to the line faultlessly to win by two and three quarter lengths from Miss Crazed. Both Love N The Port and Aveross Majesty stormed home late. “I was pretty impressed with him today. He felt a lot sharper and he’s starting to switch on.” Kiwitrix beating his rivals in the Gold Chip Final – Photo Bruce Stewart The close up action – Photo Bruce Stewart Sponsor Michelle Caig, Nichol Gray, Dave Henley, Kiwitrix and Nathan Williamson. Dave Henley, Michelle Caig and Nicol Gray with the Jimmy Dillion trophy won by Kiwitrix – Photo Bruce Stewart The key to the four year old’s improved performances this season have been the inclusion of half-hopples along with other minor gear changes. “He doesn’t concentrate that well. I put a blind on his other side today to go with the Murphy Blind. He loses focus at times so the half-hopples help him focus. At Tuapeka he led early and went off stride early for no reason. He’s a big green horse and we won’t see the best of him until another twelve months.” Williamson says the half-hopples will eventually come off. “He can work as well as anything at home without them. The half hopples will come off again but not just yet.” The Gold Chip Series which give horses the chance to qualify for a $12,000 final is in its third season. “It’s a great concept. Dad’s good trotters were in today and I’ve always tried to support it. It helps those progressive horses. The rating system looks after the older horses. The Nuggets, The Ladyship and The Gold Chip series are important for Southland. Clark Barron came up with the concepts and I’m right behind them.” Kiwitrix was bred by Williamson, Brian McCully and Hugh Catto. McCully raced her dam Kylie Ree which won four of her eleven starts including the Group One Harness Jewels Two Year Old Ruby and the Group Three Hambletonian at Ashburton. As a broodmare Kylie Ree has an impressive CV, having left five foals of racing age, all of whom have been winners, including She’s Allthe Craze, the winner of eight races and the highly promising Son Of Patrick which was placed in the Harness Million 1 Trot his season. Katie Williamson, McCully and Catto own one of Kylie Ree’s daughters Hawaiian Hula. She showed a lot of promise as a young horse but unfortunately injury curtailed her career. Today’s win was Kiwitrix’s fourth in seventeen starts. He’s owned by Katie Williamson, her parents Ross and Robyn Jones, Nicol Gray, Dave Henley and the Triple R Sulkys Syndicate which is made up of members of the Riversdale Senior Rugby team. Kiwitrix Williamson now moves his focus to Omakau on Saturday where he has Pembrook Playboy in the Free For All. “I’m really happy with him. He’s fresh so anything he does he’ll improve on. I’m pretty happy with his training so he’ll be pretty hard to beat. It’s a small field so it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out, but I’m very confident with him.” Quality three year old Croesus returns to the track in the R40-R54 Junior Drivers race after a short break. He’ll be driven by stable junior Ollie Kite. “He’s fresh and he’s had a couple of workouts that have just been okay. He’s got a good draw so hopefully he can use it. I think he’s good enough to win.” Dark Horse runs in the main trotting race of the afternoon and she too faces a small quality field. “She’s racing really well. She’s got a tricky draw which will make it more difficult but it’s not a big field so that’s a real assist for her. If there’s a heap of pace on I think she’ll be running on at the finish.” Bruce Stewart

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Winton today with a nine race program starting at 1:00pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Winton selections 31st December 2020 Best Bet:  R5 Love N The Port Best Value:  R2 Justamollyarcher   Race 1 Motor Mouth  running on ok last start and better placed here. Hard to beat at good odds……Wrecking Ball nice draw and coming in fresh. One for longer odds in this.… Miss Auckland tricky draw but form is ok and she might get a soft run on the fence. Should be in the top three if she can clear traffic…… Honour Before Glory has been thereabouts the last couple and getting fitter. Has to be included. Selections:  Motor Mouth  (6),   Miss Auckland (9),   Honour Before Glory (3)   Wrecking Ball (2)   Race 2 Justamollyarcher running good races but needs a soft trip in the running. A bit one paced but has winning claims at nice odds here.……. Afterburner has the ability and trainer driver combo always a chance. Will go forward early and hard to beat…… Global Flight ok last start and will be improved. Likes to race handy and good chance to run top three from the draw……In Sequence good Addington win before last start failure. Mile suits and can run top three Selections:  Justamollyarcher (7),  Afterburner (4),   Global Flight (10),   In Sequence (6)   Race 3 Rakarippa coming in fresh with the best draw. Workouts ok and should give a good sight at longer odds….. Debutante Party good second first start and has the draw to get a run through early. One of the leading chances….. Jaffie J has promised plenty and has gone some good races in several of her starts. Can run top three here if they go hard up front….. Emma Stone has been disappointing but getting fitter with a nice draw. One for longer odds Selections:   Rakarippa (1),   Jaffie J (12),   Debutante Party (10)    Emma Stone (2)   Race 4 Franco Huntington quick beginner who will take some catching if he can land the front. Has to be hard to beat….. Tetrick racing into form and should get a run through early. Great place chance in this field….. Holy Havoc running ok races and weaker field here. One for longer odds….. Bettors Highlight racing well at workouts and has a ton of speed. Good winning claims Selections:   Franco Huntington (3),   Bettors Highlight (9),   Holy Havoc (6)   Tetrick (10)   Race 5 Love N The Port big run to win last start and fitter now. Looks the winner in this field….. Kiwitrix galloped last start on grass but prepared to give another chance. Trainer does well here so has to be included….. Aveross Majesty tidy win three starts ago and only need manners to figure here. Can upset at nice odds….. Miss Crazed tricky handicap but has the ability to get into the race with no mistakes. Place chances look best Selections:   Love N The Port (7),   Kiwitrix (10),   Aveross Majesty (13)   Miss Crazed (14)   Race 6 Lucys Delight conditions suit and she races well at this time of the year. Good winning claims from the nice draw.…. Port Au Prince tricky draw but plenty of ability. One for the leading chances at good odds if he gets a cart into the race…… The Kingsman racing in good form but terrible draw. Will be running on and can win ..… Black Ops tricky draw but a leading player if he could get around to the front at some stage. Chances hinge on him going forward early Selections:  Port Au Prince (8),   Lucys Delight (3),   Black Ops (11),   The Kingsman (12)   Race 7 Artatac building into some good form and best draw. Should be close to the placings here…. Tommy Waterhouse ok last start but tricky draw. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here but will need luck ….. Speights On Tap speedy at workouts and drawn to go forward early. Can go close here at nice odds…. Stars N Bars forgive last start run on grass and better out and rolling. Has to be included from the draw Selections:   Speights On Tap (4),  Artatac (2),   Tommy Waterhouse (11),  Stars N Bars (3)   Race 8 Swell Time gate speed to lead and in good form. Good winning chance here and hard to beat….. A Taste Of Honey good last start in a hot field and better placed here. One of the leading chances….. Pearl Harbour tricky draw but very fast. Will be hard to beat with a cart into the race at the right time….. Baileys Diamond getting better with racing and in good form. Could be the upsetter with one run at them Selections:   Swell Time (6),   A Taste Of Honey (5),   Pearl Harbour (8)  Baileys Diamond (4)   Race 9 Lulu Le Mans racing well and getting fitter. Has the speed to get into the race late and will be hard to beat.….. Pay Me Speedy unbeaten and has a reputation. Should be hard to beat again here….. Macandrew Aviator has the ability to beat a field like this and good win last start. One of the leading chances in the race. ….. I'm Trouble big run last start and much better draw. Over the odds and can win Selections:  Lulu Le Mans (12),   Pay Me Speedy (5),   I'm Trouble (3)    Macandrew Aviator (4)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    A strong book of drives could have junior driver Ellie Barron starting her New Year’s Eve celebrations early at Winton on Thursday. Barron combines with several strong eachway chances on the nine-race card at Central Southland Raceway, including three from her father Clark’s stable. Barron senior also has two of Canterbury trainer Dean Taylor’s mares in his care, who look big winning chances for his daughter. Baileys Diamond produced an excellent performance to run second to a smart mare in Yankee Party in her last start at Winton earlier this month. The four-year-old used her gate speed to slot into a perfect run and could do the same again from her handy barrier 4 draw. But Barron thinks she can be just as lethal from off the pace “Obviously she has got good gate speed, so if we can use that it would be great.” “But she is also very fast, she has run a 1.54 mile rate when sitting off them and running home.” “She has a nice enough draw, so she should settle handy enough regardless and she has got a good show in that field.” Barron also combines with the Taylor trained Lilac Becky in race 3. The five-year-old comes into her 2400m assignment following a desperately unlucky run at Winton in her last start earlier this month. Barron hopes the mare’s luck can change and she can get a drag into the race from her barrier 12 draw on the second row. “She is going really well and she has got right back down into a grade that is definitely winnable for her.” “We will be looking for luck, she is a wee bit of a sit sprinter.” “Hopefully someone gives me a drag up and we will be good.” The Clark Barron trained Onedin Hurricane comes into race 7 following his excellent effort to run second to The Hustler in his last start at Winton earlier this month. Drawing the outside of the front line will be tricky for the four-year-old, but Ellie thinks he can still feature. “He is quite a nice horse,” Barron said. “He is still a bit of a schoolboy, he doesn’t really know much yet.” “The draw could work out, they could slow down a bit and he is good enough to do a bit of work and run home.” “It would be good if they had a bit of a set-to up front and it worked out for us to run home over top of them.” “I definitely think he is a top-four chance and he will be running on.” Father and daughter also combine with Noosa Beach in race 1. The four-year-old looked terribly unlucky in his last start at Winton, but Barron is not convinced that was the case. “He almost could’ve got out, but he wasn’t going well enough to push the ones outside him out of the way.” “So he probably wasn’t as unlucky as it looked.” “He is in a weakish field this time and he has been working really well.” “We have made a gear change and added an anti-choking device and they quite often get good results.” Barron again combines with her father in race 3 with Omaggio. The four-year-old comes into her mile (1609m) assignment after running a respectable fourth behind the smart Better’s Tart at Winton in her last start. “She went quite well last time,” Barron said. “She needs to be driven with a bit of a sit, so if she gets a good run she should go another good race.” Barron also drives Postgrad Success in race 2 and Galleons Future in race 5 at Winton on Thursday.

There were a few questions around Ragazzo Mach and today’s Wairio Cup. One was, how would he handle his first standing start and first run against race hardened higher assessed horses? It turned out to be no problem as the province’s rising harness racing star answered all the questions with an emphatic win in the feature, and in doing so broke a long standing course and Southland record. “He did bobble for a couple of strides. He just panicked when everyone rushed off but he hit his straps pretty quickly,” trainer driver Nathan Williamson said about the start. Williamson summed up the race perfectly when, with just under a lap to run, he eased Ragazzo Mach off the inside running line. “I saw Robyns Playboy beginning very quickly and saw him move behind me so I thought it was a good opportunity to nip round and then take the trail because he was the one to follow.” Robyns Playboy carried Ragazzo Mach to the passing lane but second favourite Watch Me Now was quickly on the scene when the field turned in. “He felt real good turning in. I was just a wee bit worried that the other horses had their speed up and had kicked clear on the bend while I was held up. Once he came through though he levelled out and sprinted up well.” The winning margin was two lengths with Watch Me Now finishing second and there was another length and a quarter back to Love On The Rocks. The winning time of 2-59.0 was a new track and Southland record for three year olds, bettering Shorty’s Chance’s 2009 record of 3-01.3. The time was just 0.8 seconds outside the New Zealand record for Three Year Old Colts and Geldings held by Pembrook’s Passion. Ragazzo Mach became the first three year old to win the Cup since Kawarau Gold won in 1973. Some were surprised to see Ragazzo Mac in the Cup field, but Williamson made the call after the colt recovered well after his last start nine days ago. “It’s never easy. I’ve made no secret of the fact I didn’t want to go to Gore and race on the grass. Racing on the grass for three year olds – I‘m not a real fan. Some may have viewed it as a bit of a risk to bring him here today but I was happy with the way he was and I thought he’d improve on last weeks race.” Williamson has had plenty of nice three year olds in his stable since starting his training career in 2010; horses like Tas Man Bromac, Franco Santino, and Pembrook Playboy. “He’s a very nice three year old. Pembrook Playboy was hamstrung last season because of Covid. I would have loved to have tested him against the better three year olds. I think Ragazzo Mach is more mature (at the same age) so he’s more a natural three year old. I thought Pembrook Playboy would develop into a better horse at four and five. This fella’s there now so he has to be right up there.” It was the second time owner Neville Cleaver has won the Wairio Cup, taking out the race in 2017 with Hopes And Dreams, trained by Graeme Anderson and driven by Williamson. A happy Cleaver with the Wairio Cup                      – Photo Bruce Stewart It was the fifth time Williamson has driven the winner of the Wairio Cup. Prior to today’s win which was his first as a trainer, he’s driven Here Comes Soky (2007), Costa Del Magnifico (2015), Hopes And Dreams (2017) and Smokin By (2018). Meanwhile quality mare Yankee Party overcame a second line draw to win the first heat of the SSBA Southern Belle Speed Series. The American Ideal five year old mare’s winning time was 1-53.7 and was her fourth win in just eight starts. Back to the birdcage            – Photo Bruce Stewart She was driven by Nathan Williamson, one of three winning drives for the Branxholme reinsman.   by Bruce Stewart

Hot favourite Love N The Port gave his followers heart flutters when he galloped at the start of his race  at Winton today but he recovered to win brilliantly. “He hasn’t had a lot of experience with horses around him. He just panicked and galloped but settled quite quickly which was good. After that it was a very good run,” said harness racing driver Matty Williamson. The gallop surprised Williamson. “He doesn’t gallop much at home so I thought it might have been one that was terminal. He sorted it out and was very professional afterwards.” He tagged onto the back of the field and Williamson said he was always travelling well. “They were going along a bit but at the 600 he was ready to go.” Williamson launched the three year inside the last 600 metres. “He trotted the bend beautifully. We were close to the outside fence but he bowled round them beautifully and was strong to the end.” Love N The Port stormed down the outside to win untouched from Miss Bamboocha. “He’s got a nice motor but he’s still learning, as today showed. Abilitywise he wants to do it and he’s got stamina to go with his speed.” Williamson said Love N The Port will start next on New Year’s Eve in the Gold Chip final at Winton. Although still someway off, the New Zealand Trotting Derby could be on the radar for the horse. “He’s got a bit of bottom to him. With the three year old ranks you have to see how the rest come back. With what I’ve seen you’d have to think he was in the top five in the country. We’ll just have to see whether we can get higher in the pecking order.” Meanwhile chestnut mare BK Merlot won at her second start at Winton today. The Peak mare trained by Nathan Williamson lead from the mobile and won easily by four and a half lengths for Otautau owner Brent Smith. The four year old is a half-sister to quality trotter Bordeaux which won eleven races. The Hustler looks to have turned a corner having backed up his last start second to win impressively for new trainer Lauren Pearson and driver Brent Barclay. The Bettor’s Delight four year old started his career with Katrina and John Price. Ashburton visitor Better’s Tart improved on a last start second when she beat Jaffie J by a neck. Winning salute by successful driver Stephen McNally – Photo Bruce Stewart Tough gelding Willangus Lad showed his liking to lead and race on big tracks, when he held out Kiwitrix in the Southland Vehicle Sales Handicap Trot. This was the Robert Wilson trained five year old’s third race in just twelve starts. Bred by Kevin Schuck the gelding is a half-brother to the well preformed De Vito which won six races.   by Bruce Stewart

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Winton today with an eleven race program starting at 12.05pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a nice day of racing. Winton selections 19th December 2020   Race 1 B K Merlot money on last start but galloped. Has the speed to win this. Top selection .…… Galleons Future  ok last campaign and a place chance coming in fresh here..… Slainte was unlucky not to win a race last campaign and coming in fresh. One of the leading chances in the race…… Sunday Invasion running on last start for second and he will be improved. Not the worst and has claims Selections:  B K Merlot (4),   Slainte (8),   Galleons Future  (6)   Sunday Invasion (7)   Race 2 Onedin Hurricane drawn to get a good run on the fence. Should go close to running top three.……. Artatac  has the ability and weaker field here. Can go close and will get a run near the leaders…… The Hustler god second last start but bad draw. Could upset if he gets around the field early…… Magic Mike down from Canterbury with ok form and top driver booked. Look for a bold showing here Selections:  Magic Mike (7),  Onedin Hurricane (1),   Artatac (6),   The Hustler (15)   Race 3 Fomo drawn to lead early and trial form not bad. Should give a good sight in this field with top driver on….. Better's Tart has a bit of a reputation and good second last start. Over the odds and has winning claims….. Debutante Party has the ability to beat a field like this but tricky draw. Needs a cart into it but has winning claims….. Emma Stone has run a decent mile time on the track and not the worst at big odds. Selections:   Better's Tart (6),   Fomo (1),   Debutante Party (8)    Emma Stone (7)   Race 4 Love N The Port looks the early leader and will take a power of beating in front. Top selection ….. Patriot Stride likely to get a good run near the lead. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. King Of The North racing ok and will be improved. Can run top three at good odds….. Funky Monkey fresh up run ok but terrible draw. Place chances best. Selections:   Love N The Port (7),   Patriot Stride (9),   King Of The North (14)   Funky Monkey (13)   Race 5 Lynryd Skynryd disappointed last start but prior form good. Winning chance from the draw ….. Sportscam racing into form and has been a bit unlucky. Opened over the odds and can win….. Heritage couple of his runs have been ok and drawn well. Winning claims with a trail in the race….. Honour Before Glory  tricky draw but has been ok at workouts. One for longer odds Selections:   Lynryd Skynryd (4),   Sportscam (5),   Honour Before Glory  (11)   Heritage (1)   Race 6 Willangus Lad conditions suit and form is pretty good. Good winning claims from the front line.…. Kiwitrix good the last couple and coming into form. Can run top three in this field…… Sioux Princess has been a bit in or out with her form but should get a good run from the draw. Can get close to the placings..… Springbank Mason coming in fresh and has trialled ok. Could upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Kiwitrix (4),   Willangus Lad (2),   Springbank Mason (3),   Sioux Princess (6)   Race 7 Melton Mafia in good form and looks to have come back stroger. Hard to beat if he goes forward early.…. Franco Huntington good second last start against a similar field. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here  ….. Changearound speedy when caught in the right mood and in good form. Can go close here…. Robyns Shadow at his best he would threaten these but terrible draw. Place claims here Selections:   Melton Mafia (8),  Changearound (10),   Franco Huntington (14),  Robyns Shadow (15)   Race 8 Memphis Tennessee disappointing last start but better draw and stand suits.  Good chance from the draw….. Mighty Flying Art good draw and has the speed to compete with these. Winning chance if he can stay handy ….. Ragazzo Mach good staying type who gets in well here. He will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way and stand only concern. Include.…. Watch Me Now racing well but tricky handicap. Will be finishing on and can win if the pace is on all the way Selections:    Ragazzo Mach (5),   Memphis Tennessee (1),   Mighty Flying Art (6),   Watch Me Now (10)   Race 9 Pearl Harbour tricky draw but will appreciate the shorter distance. Should give a good sight in this field at longer odds….. Swell Time looks the early leader and will be a major player if the driver can get his own way in front. One of the leading chances in the race….. Yankee Party has the ability to beat a field like this and drawn for a run through early. Top selection here….. Folklore coming back into formand well placed in this field. Needed. Selections:  Swell Time (6),   Yankee Party (10),   Pearl Harbour (7)    Folklore (4)   Race 10 Onesmartfella looks the early leader and will take a power of beating in front. Upset claims at good odds ….. Yankee Shard likely to get a good run near the lead. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. La La Land racing ok and will be improved. Can run top three from the fence draw….. R K Finn won his first race well and has had a freshen up. Needed Selections:   Yankee Shard (7),   Onesmartfella (5),   La La Land (10)  R K Finn (13)   Race 11 Black Ops looks the early leader and will take a a bit of heading off in front. Place chances look best….. Jimmy Cannon likely to get a good run near the lead and trainer change. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Freddiesam good win last start and will be improved. Can run top three at good odds….. Hurricane Banner good trail win and should get a soft run from the draw. Needed. Selections:   Jimmy Cannon (5),   Hurricane Banner (1),   Freddiesam (12)  Black Ops (2)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Mighty Flying Art put a frustrating year further behind him when zipping to a smart mile (1609m) victory at Winton on Thursday. The five-year-old took full advantage of the perfect run driver Sheree Tomlinson secured him in the trail when cruising to the line untested to win race 7. The victory continued the Murray Brown trained pacer’s rise back to his best form after his four-year-old term turned in to a write-off. “He had to have two throat operations,” Brown said. “The first one didn’t work, so I was talking to John Hay and he said to send him up to his vet [in Canterbury] to get his throat lasered.” “That is why he only had two starts last season, but he is coming back to it now.” Mighty Flying Art’s throat issue, which was restricting him taking in the maximum amount of oxygen possible, saw his form drop away towards the end of his three-year-old term. And it also affected his confidence. But the way the horse powered to the line yesterday and in his eye-catching prior effort at Ascot Park suggests Mighty Flying Art is feeling like his old self again. “They say it takes a while for them to get their confidence back because they think their breathing might start getting cut off again,” Brown said. “He is getting there, his last run on that really rough day [at Ascot Park] was good, he got home really well.” Mighty Flying Art was clearly not hampered by throat issues when he ran a brilliant fourth placing in Ultimate Sniper’s national record-breaking Sires Stakes Final of his three-year-old year on New Zealand Cup Day. Brown can not see why the horse can not get produce something similar now that his issues are behind him. “He hasn’t lost any of his speed.” “He will probably go into the country cup races now, we will just see what comes up.” Invercargill owners Brent and Michelle Ballantyne not only got reward for their patient wait for Mighty Flying Art to return to his best form yesterday. They got further payback from a fortunate phone call with the pacer’s Winton win. Brent Ballantyne attended the national yearling sales with Brown and they liked what they saw in the son of Art Major and grand producing mare Fleet’s Pocket. It did not look likely that Ballantyne would secure Mighty Flying Art once he was outbid at $46,000 and Mighty Flying Art was then passed in. Both owner and trainer then left the sales venue without securing the horse despite some post-sale negotiations the horse’s breeders, Lex and the late Heather Williams. “Murray had flown home by that stage and I had left and gone to the Casino but then Lex gave me a call to say we could have him for $50,000,” Ballantyne said. Once Mighty Flying Art got to Brown’s stable he was broken in by Tomlinson, who worked for the trainer at the time. Earlier on yesterday’s card, Tomlinson also gave Hazer a perfect trip to help him secure a deserved win in race 2. The reinswoman slotted the Chris Gerken trained pacer into a perfect one-one sit after bailing out of a three-way tussle for the early lead. Hazer is raced by the Nickels For Pickles Syndicate – a name inspired by Gerken’s surname. The syndicate is an all-family affair, made up by the trainer and his wife Sonia and their four daughters Mallory, Tarryn and Kelly Gerken and Haylea Millar, as well as their partners.

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Winton today with a ten race program starting at 12.00pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a nice day of racing. Winton selections 10th December 2020 Bets Bet: R9 Ragazzo Mach Best Value: R6 El Dorado   Race 1 B K Merlot big run at workouts against the pacers recently. One of the leading chances in this field and top selection.…… Patriot Stride From a strike rate trotting stable sure to be ready for this. Good winning claims..… Kiwi Heir last run good but place chances look best against the Williamson stables. Can run top three again…… Sunday Invasion from a strike rate stable and fair at workouts. Will have to lift but could upset Selections:  B K Merlot (1),   Patriot Stride (3),   Sunday Invasion (5)   Kiwi Heir (7)   Race 2 Clifton Jessie nice draw here and made ground last start after being slow early. Hard to beat with a good run in transit.……. Changearound battled on for third last start and should be close to the placings again from the draw. Needed…… The Night Watchman has run some good races previously and tidy run for second two starts ago. One for longer odds…… Jacks N Jazz in good form and drawn to get a run through early. Can be in the top three again with luck Selections:  Changearound (4),  Clifton Jessie (2),   Jacks N Jazz (10),   The Night Watchman (7)   Race 3 Saint Tropez good second again last start and should be improved. Should run top three and top selection….. Onedin Hurricane good draw and good stayer. Can run top three here if the pace is on all the way….. Mach Quillan has the ability to beat a field like if closer to the leaders early. Tough draw though but good chance all the same….. Tommy Waterhouse has raced ok previously and racing into a good patch of form. Can win Selections:   Saint Tropez (11),   Onedin Hurricane (2),   Tommy Waterhouse (6)  Mach Quillan (8)   Race 4 Debutante Party stable have a knack of producing first up winners and this one bred to be a super star. Hard to beat. ….. Jonique ok draw and in good form when last raced. Good winning chance in this field….. Emma Stone wide draw but has the speed to compete well here. Placed chances look best….. Jaffie J nothing went right last start but getting fitter with racing. Place chance in this field Selections:   Debutante Party (1),   Jonique (5),   Emma Stone (6),   Jaffie J (4)   Race 5 Tweedledee tricky draw but in good form. Great winning chance in this field and will be hard to beat ….. Horse Of Course racing into form and last start was running on. Decent chance from the draw….. Willangus Lad disappointed at Addington but has been freshened. Chance with manners….. Kiwitrix more like it last start when winning easily. Can go on with it and win again Selections:   Tweedledee (7),   Kiwitrix (3),   Willangus Lad (4),   Horse Of Course (2)   Race 6 El Dorado conditions suit and he will probably go forward off the gate. Paying over the odds and is a good winning chance.…. Freddiesam running on last start and course and distance suit. Can run top three…… Call Me Keith tidy draw but has been disappointing. His best form would see him go close here..… Ivana Legacy a bit in or out with form but has the ability and drawn for a cosy run on the fence. Place chances best Selections:  El Dorado (8),   Freddiesam (5),   Ivana Legacy (1),   Call Me Keith (3)   Race 7 Ferritts Sister in good form and this race distance suits. Winning claims at good odds…. Swell Time led all the way in quick time last start at Addington. Hard to beat if she finds the front early ….. Mighty Flying Art out of form but has a big finish and drawn for a soft run early. Not the worst if they go hard up front…. Deus Ex has been thereabouts in similar fields and conditions suit here. Wide draw the only concern but has winning claims…. Selections:   Swell Time (4),  Deus Ex (8),   Ferritts Sister (1),  Mighty Flying Art (9)   Race 8 Sweet Lizzie likely to head for the front and has winning claims at nice odds with a solid pace in the race….. Trinity Star first up win on grass was good but a step up in grade here. Stable has to be respected ….. Brightest Moment good staying type who gets in well here. She will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Tartan Roxy good draw but this is her toughest test to date. Place claims here….. Selections:   Sweet Lizzie (3),   Brightest Moment (4),   Tartan Roxy (1),   Trinity Star (5)   Race 9 Ragazzo Mach nice draw here and he looks the early leader and should run first or second.……. Yorokobi good win last start and has the speed to compete here. Danger to the favourite…… I'm Trouble has run some good races in better fields and drops in grade here. One for longer odds…… Ultimate Sassenach in good form but this field looks too tough. Place chances best Selections:  Ragazzo Mach (3),  Yorokobi (5),   I'm Trouble (7),   Ultimate Sassenach (6)   Race 10 Macandrew Aviator good win last start and should be improved. Should run top three and top selection….. Yankee Shard good draw and will get a soft run. Can run top three here if the pace is on all the way….. Jimmy Cannon has the ability to beat a field like if closer to the leaders early. Tricky  draw though but good chance….. Baileys Diamond has raced ok previously and racing into a good patch of form. Wide draw a concern but can place Selections:   Macandrew Aviator (6),   Yankee Shard (1),   Jimmy Cannon (9)  Baileys Diamond (8)   Harnesslink Media

Junior driver Tom Nally pulled off one of the upsets of the century when Indulgence won at the unthinkable price of $140 at Winton on Thursday. Nally sat the rank outsider off a hot speed and she unwound down the outer to like a $2 favourite for her knockout win in race 5. While punters were left reeling by the result, Nally had a smile from ear to ear. “It is amazing to win with a $140 shot, you don’t hear about that happening very often,” the reinsman said. Indulgence officially paid a $141.70 win dividend. That price represents the second-highest dividend paid out by the TAB since 2004. Only Northview Gambler, who scored at $165 at Addington in 2015, has produced a bigger return in a harness race in the past 16 years. Indulgence’s win was just Nally’s second career victory in the sulky. But, he showed the poise of a seasoned pro with his patient tactics. Sitting off race 3’s strong pace, Nally saved all of the energy he could before asking Indulgence for her supreme effort. “We went back off the gate early, it was a hot pace up front, so we were just waiting.” “When Tetrick got going I followed him hoping to get past a few tiring runners.” “We came into it well and then I hooked her out five-wide and she was too good in the end.” Nally admitted Indulgence did not quite feel like a $2 favourite in the running. But he thought he was on a horse at a fraction of her $140 price as she tracked into the finish before the turn. “She felt good the whole way, she was on the bit.” “She felt like at least a $15 chance, anyway.” Indulgence has been at Nally’s side through much of his harness racing career. The junior driver and his grandfather, Vin, broke the mare in more than three years ago. Nally went on to work for her trainer Hamish Hunter, before driving his first winner in his colours with I’m Watching You in September. The reinsman won that race in exactly the same circumstances as Thursday’s victory, coming with a perfectly time run from the rear of the field. Indulgence was clearly unpopular with punters, much like she has been when her cantankerous nature has put her at odds with those working with her. The mare has had a habit of lashing out with her back legs and started her path to the races unceremoniously, when kicking her driver out in her first workout. Her massive win price may have handed punters the same kind of feeling when most missed out on backing her on Thursday.

By Jonny Turner    Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight’s pairing of Deus Ex and Ferritts Sister head to Winton on Thursday ready to overcome wide draws. Both pacers bring excellent form to the meeting have looked ready strike in their recent outings. Whether they can convert their run of recent placings into victories on Thursday will largely rely on how they and driver Matthew Williamson will handle starting from the outside of the mobile arm in barrier 8. Deus Ex has returned south after running a creditable third, when rushing home from last before the turn, in Watch Me Now’s South Of The Waitaki event at Addington on Show Day. “It was a huge run at Addington, if you go and look at his sectionals he went super,” Geoff Knight said. “I wouldn’t usually back him up so soon after a trip like that, but he is bouncing around the paddock and he has come through it really well.” “In that field on Thursday, he has to be a big winning chance.” How Deus Ex will negotiate barrier 8 will be completely left up to Williamson. The five-year-old has versatility, giving the reinsman plenty of options. “We will just leave it up to Matt, what he wants to do at the start,” Knight said. “He has got options, whether he wants to go forward or back, he will have to make a decision at the start.” Santanna Mach looks the hardest horse for Deus Ex to hold out. The Michael House trained pacer has produced two good efforts in his last two starts in stronger races, won by Memphis Tennessee and Franco Santino. Ferritts Sister faces the same challenge as Deus Ex, starting from barrier 8 behind the mobile over 2400m in race 9. The six-year-old has been handed her second tricky alley in a row after running into third behind Swell Time at the same track on Sunday when starting from barrier 1 on the second row. “It was a good run, she was held up a little bit, but she ran on really nicely,” Knight said. “And 20m after the post she was really powering through the line.” “The preferential barrier draw makes it tricky, but she can still win from the outside in that field.” Making up ground on a fast 27.5sec last 400m again showed how much Ferritts Sister is enjoying being back in the South Island. After notching her first two wins for the Knight stable, the mare scored three more wins when campaigning from Nicky Chilcott’s Cambridge stable. “It was probably a little bit easier for her up north and Nicky did a great job with her.” “But we decided to bring her home and she has gone three great races since she has been back.” Fireball, who has a slight advantage of starting from barrier 6, looks the toughest horse for Ferritts Sister to beat. The four-year-old was second in smart time behind Sheeza Sport in his last start at Forbury Park. The Knight stable also line up Jack N Jazz, with Williamson in the sulky, in race 5. The seven-year-old has had adjustments made to gear in an attempt at getting him more interested when he returns to Winton after a lacklustre sixth there on Sunday. “We have made some gear changes and put pull down blinds on him to try to get him on the bit,” Knight said. “Matt said on Sunday he pricked his ears down the straight and he wasn’t that interested.” “I can’t say strongly that he will run in three, but if he was at his best he would be a chance."

Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful admits she gets nervous prior to her horses racing and today on her home track at Winton she was doubly so, with two runners in the New Zealand Bloodstock Junior Drivers Mobile Pace. Four year old mare Pay Me Speedy, having only her second start, duly did the business, coming from the back and winning by three quarters on a length from Robyns Shadow. “It’s always a bit nerve wracking watching one of your own especially her, because I’ve got a bit of a wrap on her,” Faithful commented after the win. Although she holds a junior license herself,  she chose to give the drives to Mark Hurrell (Pay Me Speedy)and Ollie Kite (Tartan Roxy 11th ). Prior to today’s run Pay Me Speedy had had two workouts. “I just wanted a quiet one for the first (workout) but she wanted to over race and broke. Nathan drove her the next time and we changed a bit of gear.” Driven by Mark Hurrell today, her winning time of 2-56.8 was impressive for a mare of her grade. This was her second win in as many starts. “She settled pretty well for Mark today. She can get keen but she’s still learning the game. I did expect her to go well but perhaps need the run and to do something like that was pretty impressive.” Pay Me Speedy is owned by Faithful, her grandparents Norm and Bev Cox, and her mother Louise Cox. She’s out of the Artsplace mare Pay Me Painter which won four races and was placed in the Southland Oaks. “She’s still pretty green and I’ve never really screwed her down. Providing everything goes to plan I think she’ll have a bright enough future. The phone will start ringing again and for now I’d like to say I’ll keep her. She’s my baby.” Norm, Bev and Louise Cox, Chelsea Faithful, Pay Me Speedy and Mark Hurrell – Photo Bruce Stewart The win reinforces Faithful’s remarkable strike rate but with the recent retirement of Tartan Trilogy, the sale of Toby O’Gara to Australia, and Imperial Tartan breaking down, her training numbers have been halved. “I’ve gone from six to three so I’ve got a bit of time on my hands and I don’t know what to do with myself.” Meanwhile Panspacificflight gelding Macandrew Aviator won at his second start for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis. The four year old came home nicely on debut on this course in October in the hands of Brent Barclay. He reined the gelding today as well, beating second favourite Angus by a nose. Harry H having his third start for Southland trainer Shane Matheson won at odds of 29 to 1. The Muscle Yankee gelding had previously won seven races for a number of North Island trainers. He’s a half -brother to Martina H and Tony H.   by Bruce Stewart

Not many trainers would have had the faith to lock horse Lock It In Eddie in to a long term contract but Winton trainer Tracie McGrannachan has a special bond with the six year old and doesn’t have any problems with the gelding these days. The horse got it’s name from a phrase contestants use in the Australian Television Series “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” hosted by Eddie McGuire. He’s related to handy types Mark Hanover and Mark Roy. Lock It In Eddie rewarded Tracie’s faith in him once again when he won his second race on his home track today. “He was the worst horse you’ve ever seen when we got him. He was gelded the day he came home. He haemorrhaged, and the vets came out a few hours later. We thought he was going to die. I stayed with him the night and he ended up pulling through,” she said. The six year old Changeover gelding is owned by McGrannachan, her daughter Brooke, her husband to be Bryan Trethowen, Ian Goodman and Peter Kane. “He has taken a wee while but as you can see he’s big and overgrown. Every time you did something with him he’d buck and kick. He was a shocker so we’d turn him out and bring him back in. We just kept doing that. Every time we did it he forgot what his habit was the time before.” In today’s event driver Nathan Williamson settled the gelding back. With a lap to run he settled into the one one after sitting parked. With 450 metres to run Williamson moved off the tiring The Night Watchman’s back to come down the centre of the track. Bunter’s Dream, which took the inside passing lane, got a half a length in front but Lock It In Eddie under a hard drive from Williamson got up to win by half a neck. McGrannachan says the horse reponds well to hitting the shaft and making some noise. “I dare say Nathan’s probably got a sore throat.” “He’s really chilled now but early on everything scared him. John Dunn drove him at Wyndham one day and he nearly put him over the fence. That was what he was like. Brad Williamson said one day ‘if he clicks he should win a couple in a row.” Winners side by side – Pay Me Speed and Chelsea Faithful and Lock It In Eddie and Tracie McGrannachan- Photo Bruce Stewart Maybe this is the first of a double Tracie?   Bruce Stewart

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Winton trainer Chelsea Faithful will be throwing everything at her local meeting on Sunday when she lines-up her entire team. While it may only be three runners, Faithful is hopeful of taking home a few cheques at the end of the day, particularly in the New Zealand Bloodstock Junior Drivers Mobile Pace (2400m) where she will line-up last start winners Tartan Roxy and Pay Me Speedy. Pay Me Speedy won on debut in January and Faithful said the four-year-old mare has the ability to win first-up despite drawing the outside of the front-row. “Pay Me Speedy hasn’t raced in a while,” Faithful said. “It’s not a great draw, but for her it might not be too bad. She will have to go back and have one run at them. “On her day she would be the horse to beat in that field, but I think she will need the run. “It wouldn’t surprise me if she were to run over the top of them, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if she were just to run a place.” Faithful has been pleased with her other runner, Tartan Roxy’s, two efforts this preparation, placing first-up at Winton in September before recording her maiden victory at Wairio, and she is hoping the daughter of Bettor’s Delight can continue that form this weekend. “I have been pleased with both of her runs,” Faithful said. “She had a long time off for no reason in particular and she has turned out to be quite a nice, genuine mare. “It’s a strong field on Sunday but I think she is over the odds, especially for a place chance. I expect her to go well. “I have been trying to keep her to the big track. Depending on what sort of run she gets she might back-up at Winton on Thursday.” Later on the card, four-year-old gelding Tartan Raider will make his debut in the Downbytheseaside At Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (2400m). “Tartan Raider, he is a nice wee fella,” Faithful said. “He will go around and it will be a bit of experience for him. He is pretty sensible. “I expect him to go well. He is extremely well at home and is jumping out of this skin. “I don’t think he will be too far away.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Winton today with a ten race program starting at 12:00pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a massive day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Winton. Winton selections 15th November 2020 Race 1 Saint Tropez plenty of ability but disappointed on race day last campaign. Trialled ok and top selection.…… Midnight In Memphis nice draw and he has run some cheeky races against good fields. Major player here..… Maya Angelou going ok and much better draw this time. Can upset with a soft run in transit…….. Greenback Boogie running ok races without a lot of luck and drawn well. Could surprise here at nice odds. Selections:  Saint Tropez (12),   Midnight In Memphis (4),   Greenback Boogie (1),    Maya Angelou (5)   Race 2 Count Eyre trotterr with form against some nice Canterbury fields. Can run top three here and top selection.……. Tweedledee has ability and nice second last start. Big track will suit and winning claims here …… Dipendra disappointing last start but better than that. One for longer odds …… Only One Way getting fitter with racing and has been racing better fields. Winning claims from the draw…… Selections:  Count Eyre (5),   Tweedledee (10),   Dipendra (9),   Only One Way(11)   Race 3 Bunter's Dream has been running good races and might be the early leader here. Could upset if the pace is on all the way….. Hazer good staying type who is nearing peak form at the right time. Top selection and hard to beat if he finds the front  ….. Dallas Grimes fair run last week and drawn to position near the leaders early. Can run in the top three…. Swift Robyn nice inside second row draw and could follow the leader in the race. Winning claims here….  Selections:   Hazer (1),  Bunter's Dream (2),   Swift Robyn (9),  Dallas Grimes (4)   Race 4 Onesmartfella good draw to work with and an easier field than last start. Top selection here ….. Glenledi Captain too good last start but up in grade. Winning claims at nice odds….. Suzie Rocks has the game to beat a field like this and good win last start. Needed….. Major Menace could get a cosy run on the fence and finished ok last start. One for longer odds Selections:   Onesmartfella (1),   Glenledi Captain (2),   Suzie Rocks (7),   Major Menace (9)   Race 5 Peregrine conditions suit here and he is a major player in this field. Good winning claims and top selection.…. Steve has won his last couple but this is harder. Should be thereabouts but 20m handicap a concern. Include…… Cody Banner tricky handicap but big track will suit. Can win and racing in good form… Madrik manners not great but a huge hope if he trots all the way. Needed Selections:  Peregrine (3),   Cody Banner (12),   Steve (13),   Madrik (11)   Race 6 Insarchatwist has been racing strong fields with merit. Should be a good winning chance in this lineup and top selection . ……. Emma Stone tricky draw but good second three starts ago . Good winning claims if she can clear traffic …… Sherwood Maggie disappointing last start but better than that. One for longer odds…… Adhara good finisher who has drawn well here. One of the leading chances Selections:   Insarchatwist (10),   Adhara (4),   Emma Stone (9),   Sherwood Maggie (5)   Race 7 Stars N Bars has been running good races and getting fitter. Hard to beat in this field from the draw….. Port Au Prince running on ok last start but draw not great. Will need luck but can run top three here  ….. Macandrew Aviator draw not great but has speed. Look for him to be finishing off well and can win…. The Kingsman drawn for a run through at the start and has been racing well. Money for him at both his starts so where there is smoke….  Selections:   Macandrew Aviator (16),  Stars N Bars (2),   Port Au Prince (11),  The Kingsman (10)   Race 8 Swell Time drawn to lead and will be very hard to beat if she can. Good winning chance….. Sweet Lizzie likes to race near the lead and top driver booked. Should run top three again….. Ferritts Sister should get a soft trip on the fence and will be running on late. Can win if she clears traffic…. Virginia Cool racing ok and likely to trail early. Not the worst at good odds…..  Selections:   Swell Time  (2),   Sweet Lizzie  (2),   Ferritts Sister (9),   Virginia Cool  (1)   Race 9 Black Ops racing well and drawn to lead. Could be hard to get past with no attackers midrace ….. Ultimate Sassenach races best near the lead and should get a good run on the outer. Winning claims ….. Freddiesam racing well and he could trail the favourite. Can run top three…. Call Me Keith racing his way back into form but tricky draw. Place chance at nice odds with room in the straight ….  Selections:   Ultimate Sassenach (10),   Call Me Keith (9),   Freddiesam (1),   Black Ops (4)   Race 10 El Dorado good second last start and he should press forward early. Can win with a soft lead here…… Mighty Flying Art tricky draw but racing ok and big track suits. One for longer odds….. Tony The Pony last start he got knocked over when going ok. One of the leading chances here at good odds….. Allaboutdreams drawn well and should get a nice run in transit. Needed….  Selections:  El Dorado (3),   Mighty Flying Art (8),   Tony The Pony (5),   Allaboutdreams (2)   Harnesslink Media

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