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Pukekohe owner-breeders, Lindsay and Pam Turner of Top Notch Lodge, have won their first Franklin Park Yearling Parade after placing in the annual event last year. Their brown American Ideal – Tigerswish colt named Tycoon Tiger, won the supreme award at the Pukekohe track on Station Road on July 29. That victory came 12 months after Tiger Tycoon’s older brother, Bit Of A Tiger (by Bettor’s Delight) placed last year. Tiger Swift (by Mach Three and out of Tiger Tina) also placed at that same 2015 Yearling Parade. “Pam and I have always loved the annual Parade because it puts all horses and their breeds out there. It’s great for all owners. Todd Macfarlane is training Tiger Tycoon and he has had two preps now. “Todd thinks he will make an early two-year-old and wants to line him up in the Young Guns Series in December. So here’s hoping. We never get carried away with babies but we do have the Breeders Crown in mind this time next year if he’s good enough,” Turner (Lindsay) said. He said Tycoon Tiger was the only horse that he and his wife bred in 2015 so they decided to keep him. “He’s always been very independent since then. A loner you could say. Todd likes him and that’s good enough for us,” said Turner. Tycoon Tiger is the grand-son of the best horse that the Turners have owned - the late Butler B G mare, Tigerish. The multiple Group One winning filly and mare won 15 of her 79 starts and $491,957 in New Zealand and Australia between 1990 and 1996. Tigerish left 11 foals between 1997 and 2010. Tigerswish (by Holmes Hanover), who won one of her 12 starts, was foal number five. She in turn has left four foals between 2009 and 2015. Turner said Tigerish’s first foal, the 2009 Mach Three filly named Tiger Tamer, fetched $5,000 at the 2011 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale and was bought by Bill and Paulette Screen, before going on to be trained by Derek Balle and then Todd Mitchell. She won two races. Two years later Tigerswish gave birth to a Changeover colt named Haunui Tiger. That now brown gelding was sold for $35,000 to Rosslands Stud at the 2013 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale. "He had three starts here and then went on to win one in Australia. After him came Bit Of A Tiger in 2014. He's by Bettor's Delight and is three now. He qualified in January and is coming along okay for us," Turner said. Then in November 2015 Tycoon Tiger was born. "We have kept the mare empty this year. She breeds better when she is left empty for a season. We will probably take her back to American Ideal again," Turner said. He said he was delighted that Tigerish’s family had performed well at Franklin Yearling Parades over the years. “We will keep attending them. We want to thank all the sponsors and people who organised the day. We are very proud of what Tycoon Tiger achieved. “It would be a dream come true if he could be our next Tigerish,” Turner said. Tycoon Tiger races in the familiar Turner crimson and white colours. Results from the 2017 Franklin Park Yearling Parade: NRM McMillan Equine Feeds Yearling-of-the-Year: TYCOON TIGER (American Ideal – Tigerswish colt) TROTTING: Veterinary Associates Equine & Farm $500 product prize for first: SUNNYS LITTLE JESTIC (Majestic Son - Our Sunny Whiz filly) HR Fisken & Sons voucher for second: PEAKZ LUCK (Peak - Howz Lucky filly) The Stables Cafe Z voucher for third: ADELLE (Orlando Vici - Scusi Boyz filly) PACING: Franklin Vets – Equine $500 Voucher for first: SILVIA (Art Major - Hi Ho Silver Lining filly) H R Fisken & Sons voucher for second: ANAMAJOR ((Art Major - Mary Anastasia filly) The Stables Cafe Z voucher for third: EYESPYWITHMYLITTLEEYE (Mach Three - Eye Contact filly) PACING COLTS: The Vet Centre $500 voucher for first: JETSON HUNTER (Changeover - Saucy Operator colt) H R Fisken & Sons voucher for second: PALIO ARDEN (Panspacificflight - Ruby Morn colt) The Stables cafe Z voucher for third: FRANCO NIVEN (Christian Cullen - Nigella Franco colt) BEST OF THE REST: Dunstan voucher - RECKON IM SMART (American Ideal - Pacing Grace colt) Lincoln Farms Service fee to Sir Lincoln: THE BLUE BEAT (A Rocknroll Dance - The Blue Lotus filly)   (Horse was drawn out of a hat.)   Duane Ranger

It has not been that often in the last few years that you would see the harness racing maestro Roy Purdon at Alexandra Park. Age and wear and tear affects the best of us and the 89 year old has preferred the comfort of his armchair at home as he has followed his sons Mark and Barry winning races from one end of the country to the other. In the last few weeks however, Roy has been sighted at  Alexandra Park more than once and it is all down to the generosity of his son Mark. Mark outlaid $62,500 at the 2015 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale for a Bettor's Delight colt named More The Better and promptly gifted a half share in the striking looking colt to his father Roy. Roy decided to bring his longtime friend David Levine into the ownership and the partnership of three has not looked back from that day. Last night More The Better went into the $100,000 Young Guns Final at Alexandra Park a close second favourite behind his stablemate Pacing Major and once again the two star two year olds fought out the finish. Mark sent More The Better forward from barrier four to grab an early lead from Pacing Major and that really was the winning of the race. Allowed to dictate terms in front, Mark got away with a couple of soft quarters during the race including a 29 effort between the 800 metres and the 400 metres before brushing home in a sizzling 26.8 for the last quarter. Pacing Major made up a wee bit of ground in the last 400 metres on the stablemate but not enough to trouble More The Better in front who still had half a length to spare at the finish with the Paul Court trained Mongolian Hero a further 6 3/4 lengths in third. More The Better paced the 1700 metres in 2:04.4, a mile rate of 1:57.8 with closing sectionals of 55.8 and 26.8 The win last night took More The Better's two year old record to 3 wins and 3 seconds from 6 starts for stakes totaling $83,385 with a best time to date of 1:53.6 Come the photo after the win last night and there was no sign of Roy. "Dad and Neil Pilcher are guests of the Club tonight on the top floor." " I think to get down here for the photo they would have had to make a start before the the last race" Mark quipped. But that wouldn't have worried Roy in the least who unbelievably was posting his first Group 1 winner as an owner and his longtime friend David Levine, who has been able to share in that thrill with him which has made it all that more special. The next time More The Better is seen on a racetrack will be in the South Island and it wouldn't be a surprise to see his excited part owners on track to watch him. Harnesslink Media  

The first of the big features for this years crop of harness racing two year olds is the $100,000 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Although it has only drawn a field of eight, it has brought together some outstanding talent and promises to be one of the highlights of the night. Up until the last heat last Friday night, there looked to be four or five horses in contention to win the final depending on the draws and the run they received. However the two All Stars runners last Friday night in Pacing Major and More The Better lit up Alexandra Park with an outstanding display of speed and power and in the process lay down a marker for this week. The time of 2:00 set by More The Better for the 1700 metres equates to a mile rate of 1:53.6 and took 2.5 seconds off the old national record held by the champion two year old Fly Lijke An Eagle. The All Stars duo did more work than any other horse in the race yet were out on their own by 8 lengths at the finish. On that performance alone it is hard to see how the two All Star runners don't dominate this weeks final. So which one will come out on top? At the moment the score between the pair is two each from their four meetings. The All Stars barn is adamant that there is nothing between them on ability so the draw here does become critical. Pacing Major from barrier one has all the options here and it is hard to see how More The Better can work harder during the run and still wear down Pacing Major. Mark Purdon is renowned for getting everything out of his youngsters so you can't say that More The Better can't win but just that he is less likely to win than Pacing Major. The Paul Court trained Mongolian Hero looks the big improver from last week. That was his first run for a month and he would derive immense benefit from it. Handily drawn at barrier two means he will follow Pacing Major everywhere and he appears the third best here by a fair margin. The enigma of the field is the Ray Green trained Alta Intrigue. A nasty virus has gone through the Pukekohe training establishment of Lincoln Farms and Ray's team has suffered more than most. Alta Intrigue looked the best of the North Islanders earlier in the season but there has to be a big question mark hanging over him after he caught the virus. At his best Alta Intrigue would be up there with Mongolian Hero but it is hard to know at this point where he sits health wise. So Pacing Major to beat his stablemate More The Better by a narrow margin to win the final with Mongolian Hero finishing third in front of Alta Intrigue Harnesslink Media

The last heat of the Young Guns Series at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight only had seven runners but it looked a very even race on paper with as many as five good chances. The All Star duo of Pacing Major and More The Better had the form on the board down south but they had both been beaten on their first visit to Alexandra Park and there was the a question mark about them heading into tonight. But as has become the norm for All Stars runners, as you get deeper into the season, the better they get. More Than Better with Mark Purdon in the bike had an early burn for the lead but Vasari and David Butcher rebuffed that and held the lead with More The Better slotting into the trail. Pacing Major with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike worked up to the death beside Vasari and applied pressure a long way out and going past the 400 metres it was obvious that the All Star Duo were the horses to beat. Pacing Major went for broke as they straightened for home but More The Better came out onto his back on the corner and swept on by half way way up the straight for a decisive victory. The All Stars duo streeted the rest with the highly rated Mongolian Hero eight lengths away in third and at first you felt the other runners had been a touch disappointing. That was until they announced the times for the 1700 Metres mobile. More The Better had run the journey in a blistering 2:00.4, a mile rate of 1:53.6 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 28.2. The time smashed the New Zealand record for 1700 metres for colts and geldings held by Fly Like An Eagle by a massive two point one seconds. All season the All Stars juveniles had not looked as dominant as in previous seasons and rival trainers were holding out some hope that this might be the year when they beat them in some of the bigger races. However the foreman for the All Stars barn Duane Marfisi has said all season that he thought this years crop from the All Star barn were as strong if not better than last years juveniles and tonights performance has confirmed that opinion in no uncertain fashion. Next weeks $100,000 final of the Young Guns Series looks a match race between the All Stars duo and the draw will probably decide which of them comes out on top. Harnesslink Media  

Although there are only seven runners in tonights Young Guns heat at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park, the depth of the field is very strong with five of the runners having strong claims. The All Star barn has two entered in Pacing Major and More The Better and both are huge chances. They have provided the quinella in both the Sapling Stakes and the Kindergarten Stakes at their last two starts and look to be peaking nicely for the Young Guns Final next week. Pacing Major has beaten More The Better in his last two but More The Better has the better of the draws this week and it wouldn't surprise if he turned the tables on the stablemate. Both of the All Star runners were beaten at Alexandra Park in their debut runs and while they deserve to start favourite, there is plenty of class in the heat which will keep them honest. The three juveniles that stand in the way of an All Stars stable victory are headed by Vasari from the Ray Green barn who has drawn barrier one which makes him a serious player here. A winner earlier in the season in 2:03 for the 1700 metres showed he would be very competitive here but he needed a good draw as well in our opinion and he has got it. Billy Badger from the Robert Dunn barn is another smart juvenile drawn well tonight who after a couple of nice thirds, beat Pacing Major at the New Years Eve meeting at Alexandra Park. A last quarter in that race in 26.2 was further proof if any was needed that Billy Badger will be a major player in any race he starts in. Billy Badger looks the likely leader from barrier two and will give his supporters a good sight in front like he did at his last start. Mongolian Hero from the Paul Court stable has had the misfortune to draw the outside of the gate but that won't stop him playing a major role here. He has improved with every run this campaign and his third behind More The Better and Pacing Major at Addington where he was beaten by a margin of two heads after sitting parked for the last 1000 metres showed he is right up there with the best juveniles this season. Tonights heat of the Young Guns series should give us a much better idea of  the relative merits of five of the best two year olds going round this season, especially as the $100,000 Young Guns final is only a week away. Harnesslink Media

Pukekohe harness racing trainer Ray Green is having a year to remember with his juveniles with three of his barn having designs on the Young Gun Series Final in early March. Vasari 1:56.4, a son of Art Major has impressed all season while his Mach Three stablemate Alta Intrigue 1:56.6 with two wins from three starts has looked the equal of any two year old racing in the country. The third of Ray's team eying up a Young Guns final appearance is Spring Campaign and the son of Courage Under Fire has done enough to date to suggest he will be a major player on March 11th. Spring Campaign was a gutsy second on debut, running second to stablemate Alta Intrigue off a 55.9 last 800 metres but a couple of minor issues have kept him from the track since. However tomorrow night Spring Campaign steps out for his second start at the races in the last at Alexandra Park but it is not against his fellow two year olds. " The two old race never got off the ground but he needs a run so we are taking on the older horses." " It is not ideal but you need to keep ticking them over with a view to having them ready for the final so your hands are tied a bit, "Ray told Harnesslink this afternoon. Spring Campaign is also going through a bit of a growth spurt at the same time which has Ray not rushing things at this point. " We will know a lot more after the race tomorrow night but he is going through a growth spurt at the moment which he seems to be coping really well with." " His work has been super leading into tomorrow night and he really should be winning the race," Ray said. Ray is facing the same problem with Vasari and Alta Intrigue as he has with Spring Campaign in that finding suitable races to keep them ticking over is not easy. " Alta Intrigue is classed as a C2 horse by the handicapping system which means I have to race older horses to get a run which is crazy." " Vasari is classed as a C1 so he is not much better off and both of them are disadvantaged in where they can start." "I am not going to line them up against the C1 and C2 pacers as it would be too hard on a two year old with all the big races still to come," Ray said. Ray has put together a great record over the years with his juveniles but in this years trio, he really looks to have horse power to take out the Young Guns Final. Harnesslink Media

Not long ago the All Stars barn confirmed that they had only one horse aimed at this years Young Gun Series in the form of the Bettors Delight colt More The Better. However in the last ten days that has all changed with the addition of the smart Art Major colt Pacing Major to the All Stars attack on the Young Guns series. He was brought out of the 2015 Australasian Classic Yearling sale for $75,000 by legendary thoroughbred trainer Jim Gibbs who took amongst other the longtime All Star clients in Phil and Glenys Kennard into the ownership. Pacing Major has only had two trials in December and won them both without being asked to really run. Natalie Rasmussen had done all the work with Pacing Major and convinced Mark Purdon that he was a really smart horse in the making " Pacing Major is a good horse in the making I feel."   "It was my idea that Mark send him north as I had been doing most of the work with him so I hope he delivers!." "Mark has been quite impressed with him up there," Natalie said. Mark had had little to do with Pacing Major prior to this week but has been impressed. " Pacing Major  has certainly done well up here" " I don't think there is much between him and the little horse (More The Better) now so I think he has a good chance in the heat of the Young Gun Series." "As Nat notes I hadn't driven him much down home but he has impressed me this week," Mark said. The second Young Guns heat has drawn a nice field including the winner Vasari and Pacing Major has drawn wide at barrier six but if he has impressed Mark Purdon this week, then Pacing Major  immediately becomes the horse to beat tomorrow. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing enthusiasts love nothing more than to see the two year olds strut their stuff and tonight at Alexandra Park they get to see three high class juveniles go round in the first heat of the Young Gun series. The All Star barn have brought More The Better north and everything he has done at trials and workouts to date would suggest he is a huge talent and will be hard to beat in his race debut tonight. The two horses from the Ray Green barn are the obvious dangers to More The Better and Ray couldn't be happier with them going into tonight. " They have both trained on great since they last raced and I couldn't fault either of them heading into tonight. " With the way the draw has panned out, I am expecting a big run from Alta Intrigue (Mach Three) from barrier one." " He has the speed to hold the front and he has already run time so he should be really competitive tonight." " Vasari (Art Major) still has a thing or two to learn about the racing but he is getting better all the time and I am sure he will go a big race tonight." "My two have had a couple of starts at the races which gives them a wee advantage over More The Better who is making his debut tonight, " Ray said. Ray saw More The Better at the workouts last Saturday and was impressed by the son of Bettor's Delight. " He looks a lovely individual and you couldn't help but be impressed by how he went last Saturday."  " On what I saw you just know he is going to be one of the better two year olds this season." " However I wouldn't change my two for anything else out there." " I think they are as good as anything else I have seen," Ray said Ray has had some outstanding juveniles over the years but is quick to place his latest group at the top of the rankings. "Alta Intrigue and Vasari are the two best juveniles that I have ever trained in my career." " They are just exceptional young horses and their couple of starts to date have only confirmed my opinions of them." " The scary thing is my other high class two year old Spring Campaign is potentially as good as Alta Intrigue and Vasari so we should have a big year," Ray said. Tonights heat of the Young Guns series could be the first of many clashes between this talented trio of juveniles. Harnesslink Media 

Pukekohe harness racing trainer Ray Green is always active at the yearling sales each year but is never a buyer of big numbers. This year he brought just seven yearlings at both of the sales but the small numbers he bought hasn't stopped Ray having three of them line up in the first two year old race of the season at Alexandra Park tonight. Ray has had a great run in the last few years with his sales purchasers and is probably the only trainer in New Zealand  to have a strike rate similar to Mark Purdon with his yearlings. The three that are lining up tonight have impressed Ray right from the start and when we talked to Ray over three months ago, he signaled that these three that are starting tonight were his most likely starters in the Young Guns series that begins shortly. Ray finds it very difficult to rate his juveniles in any particular order. " The three of them are all lovely two year olds and all have big futures in front of them." " At this stage they are all on the improve and which one ends up the best is anyone's guess." "Spring Campaign is the most natural two year old of the three racing tonight." " As soon as he steps onto the track he is all business and knows what he is there for." " The other two still have a few rough edges but lack nothing in ability and all three are equally capable of winning tonight," Ray said. Ray has more two year olds not that far away from the track as well. " I have a fair bit of time for an American Ideal half brother to Sky Major called Sky Diamond who goes really well." "A couple of the homebred two year old fillies have also shown plenty to date including the full sister to Sir Lincoln in Lincolns Superstar," Ray said. With the way Ray season after season produces those elite level two year olds, it would be no surprise if he trifected the two year old race tonight. Harnesslink Media

It is hard to remember any time in harness racing's history in New Zealand where one mare has had such an influence on the industry as Scuse Me. Her progeny and that of her daughters seem to have a strangle hold on the Cup and Classic races in New Zealand at present. Last night at Alexandra Park, Christen Me and Adore Me ran the quinella in the Auckland Cup while an hour prior to that her son Have Faith In Me had won the Derby. The success didn't stop there either with Christen Me's half sister Dream About Me bolting away with the $80,000 Delightful Lady Young Guns Final to round off a stellar night for Scuse Me and her descendants. The daughter of Bettor's Delight was the warm favourite for the Delightful Lady Classic off the back of two very impressive wins leading into tonights final and justified that favoritism with an emphatic win over her rivals. Her main danger was seen as her stablemate Arden's Choice but that all changed 200 metres after the start when Arden's Choice went into a wild gallop, losing all chance. Taken back off the gate by driver Tim Williams from barrier seven, Dream About Me was sent forward by Tim after 400 metres and grabbed the front with just over a lap to go. From there it became a bit of a procession as Dream About Me lifted the tempo down the back straight in 29.2 before brushing the last quarter in 27.9 as she ran away and hid from her rivals. At the finish she was five lengths to the good of a game Gamma Lady who was just as clearly second with the remainder three and a half lengths away headed by Poppy Maguire. Dream About Me was travelling that well in the over the concluding stages that Tim didn't even activate the removable deafeners. Speaking to Harnesslink earlier in the week, Tim was confident that Dream About Me would be very hard to beat and he made her his drive of the week in the drivers ringaround. He was full of praise for the filly post race. " She is really starting to work out what it is all about now." 'She was a lot happier and drove a lot straighter with the pole on this week," Tim said Tim had a few anxious moments at the start when Dream About Me seemed to be fighting her young driver. " She is still pretty green" " She wanted to go forward and I wanted to go back as several on the inside had kicked up" " She is still learning," Tim said. Dream About Me paced the 1700 metres in 2:02.9, a mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 27.9. The way Dream About Me won last night stamps her as the filly they all have beat in the two year old division this season. Harnesslink Media  

The Auckland Trotting Club on Friday night (6th March) has the honour of running the last race in this year's harness racing Grand Circuit in Australasia "The $250,000 Auckland Trotting Cup". After winning the title last year Christen Me is the odds on favorite to retain the title with a 89 point lead over Adore Me going into last race for the Grand Circuit this season and while he may be a hot favourite for that title, he will go into Friday night's race knowing he has a real battle on his hands in this years Cup. Adore Me's unbelievable 1:47.7 run at Menangle on Sunday has made her the hottest favourite in recent years and set up a showdown with Christen Me who has had the wood on her over the summer. Here is our runner by runner preview of the Auckland Trotting Cup. 1) .Cyamach  -  Starts 44  -  Wins 10  -  Seconds 8  -  Thirds 6   -   Stakes $171,287 His overall record would suggest that he would be a chance but a closer examination shows that this is a touch out of his league. A noted sit sprinter who battles if he does a lot of work in a race Very competitive at the level just below the top liners but struggles against the very best that he is facing here. Not for us 2) Smolda  -  Starts 29  -  Wins 15  -  Seconds 5  -  Thirds 4   -   Stakes $565,410 After last Friday night's run no one thought he would be lining up here but the All Star barn are confident they have found the problem ( boring pole issues) and made adjustments and he has worked good this week. One classy individual when he is right and his previous run to last week was outstanding so hard to dismiss on class alone. Hard to see him winning against Adore Me and Christen Me with his lack of recent racing but a must have for trifecta and first four takers. 3) Jason Rulz  -  Starts 53  -  Wins 14  -  Seconds 8  -  Thirds 9   -   Stakes $249,781 Has struggled in the past in making the step up to the top level but is in career best form at the moment. Can follow speed and still finish on as he did last week so a chance here from his handy draw to get amongst it. Hard to see him winning the race with Adore Me and Christen Me involved but a must have for trifecta and first four takers. 4) Lancewood Lizzie  -  Starts 23  -  Wins 11  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds   -   Stakes $121,188   Going from strength to strength this season but this is a big step up in class for the mare. Has always looked good with a nice sit just off the pace where she can unleash that lethal sprint she has. Most here have a better all round game so hard to see her being a serious challenger at this stage of her career. Outside first four player for us. 5) Sky Major  -  Scratched 6) Ohoka Punter  -  Starts 23  -  Wins 14  -  Seconds 5  -  Thirds 3   -   Stakes $531,449 Injury plagued pacer that has been set for this race since his return to the track. Looks to have built to a nice peak to us and from his draw he will go forward and settle in front of the two hotpots. Everything points to him being a big chance and trainer couldn't be happier with him. Genuine winning chance if the breaks go his way. Include in everything. 7) Elios  -  Starts 27  -  Wins 10  -  Seconds 5  -  Thirds 3   -   Stakes $216,176 He had his first run the other night for nine months so race fitness is a real issue with Elios. Talented pacer who will make the step up to the top level in time but hard to be competitive with just one run under his belt this campaign. That coupled with the poor draw for a horse who likes to race on the speed and we find it hard to see him finishing in four at this stage. Not for us.  8) Pemberton Shard  -  Scratched 9) Terror To Love  -  Scratched 10) Lewy Risk  -  Starts 32  -  Wins 7  -  Seconds 5  -  Thirds 2   -   Stakes $55,695 This is a huge mountain to climb for this intermediate grade pacer. Not only is he facing horses way above his present racing class, but he is going to have to do plenty of work as well as he has drawn behind Cyamach who will take a sit from barrier one which will push Lewy Risk back on the inner. Throw in his habit of throwing the toys out mid race every now and again and we can't find a place for him in our selections. Not for us 11) Christen Me  -  Starts 43  -  Wins 25  -  Seconds 7  -  Thirds 4   -   Stakes $2,076,061 Two time Grand Circuit champion with a Miracle Mile, Hunter Cup and Victoria Cup in the trophy cabinet. Head to head with Adore Me this season is four/ two in Christen Me's favour heading into the Auckland Cup. The feeling we have is who ever gets in front of the other early stands a very good chance of winning the race. With Christen Me drawing on Smolda's back who has never been noted as a quick beginner, we think he is liable to settle behind Adore Me after the initial rush due to her following out the expected early leader Lancewood Lizzie. However this is a horse that can overcome adversity and we think he is a huge chance to take out the Cup. 12) Border Control  -  Starts 39  -  Wins 18  -  Seconds 12  -  Thirds 5   -   Stakes $500,265 Another injury plauged runner on the comeback trail. Only had four runs back from eight months away from the track so still getting up to full race fitness. Outstanding racehorse at best and seems to be slowly getting back to that level. Has run in the first three in 35 out of 39 lifetime starts so a must include for trifecta and first four takers 13) Adore Me  -  Starts 35  -  Wins 26  -  Seconds 4  -  Thirds 2   -   Stakes $1,633,432 Not much you can say after Sunday's run is there. The best performance we have ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere in our time but Friday night is a different kettle of fish completely. 2700 metres around Alexandra Park is nothing like 1600 metres around Menangle Christen Me and Ohoka Punter are not going to die wondering so she has a real battle on her hands. She has gone to another level since her New Zealand Cup win and deserves to be favourite here but she is no home run. Selections Adore Me deserves to be favourite after her outstanding run in the Victoria Cup followed by her brilliant display on Sunday. However she won't have it her own way thats for sure Not many horses have beaten her fair and square but two that have are in this race in Christen Me and Ohoka Punter. The winner should come from those three horses and on class alone this trio should dominate. For trifecta and first four players we would add in Smolda, Jason Rulz and Border Control Harnesslink Media 

This seasons harness racing two year olds have been competing in heats of the Young Guns series since before Xmas and the best of both the colts and fillies run in their respective finals on Friday night.. We plan to preview them both and first up is the colts and geldings final. $100,000 Young Guns Colts and Geldings Final 1) Lazarus - Colt by Bettors Delight   -   Trainers - Mark Purdon * Natalie Rasmussen Two starts for two wins late last year stamped this colt as a very smart juvenile. In both of his races Lazarus drew badly but on both occasions he overcame the draw to win in style. After a short break he can be expected to come back even better and looms as one of the two leading chances, especially from the draw. 2) El Jacko - Gelding by Elsu   -   Trainers - Logan Hollis * Shane Robertson Two starts in his debut season for two sixths. Hasn't disgraced himself in either race but hasn't threatened the placegetters either Hard to make a case for him as a first four player. 3) Code Black - Colt by Bettors Delight   -   Trainer - Robert Dunn One of the more experienced horses in the final with his four starts yielding one win and two fourths. Has beaten most of the field at various times this season outside of the two favourites. Definite trifecta and first four player but hard to see him beating the All Stars pair. 4) Max Phactor - Colt by Art Major   -   Trainer - Mike Berger Beat the older horses on debut at Cambridge in the first of his four starts this season. Has been competitive but not compelling in his three races since. Does have good gate speed but hard to see him finding the front with Lazarus drawn inside of him. Has yet to beat Walkinshaw in three attempts so hard to see him beating the favoured pair here. First four player only for us. 5) Chase The Dream - Colt by Bettors Delight   -   Trainers - Mark Purdon * Natalie Rasmussen Stunning debut win at Ashburton in the Sapling Stakes in 1:54.8 was followed by an equally impressive win last week at Alexandra Park where after being last early, he looped the field midrace and then ran away and hid in the straight in a 1:57.3 mile rate. Has shown real gate speed at trials in Canterbury so can go forward from better draw this week. One of the two leading chances for us. 6) Walkinshaw - Colt by Mach Three   -   Trainer - Tony Herlihy Started the season with a tidy run for fifth first up and has got better with every run since. Nice win two starts back and smart second to Chase The Dream last week after leading from barrier seven. Just appears a touch behind the All Stars pair but looks the best of the rest to us. Tony Herlihy in the bike is a big plus for us. 7) Mach Time - Gelding by Mach Three   -   Trainers - Steve Telfer * Chris Garlick Very inexperienced horse who was having his debut run last week when he ran fourth to Chase The Dream. Held in very high regard by his trainers but draw and lack of raceday experience are big negatives for us. Can run first four with a run to suit.  8) Dark Energy - Colt by Bettors Delight   -   Trainer - Tony Herlihy His two runs to date have resulted in a fourth and a fifth and both times from favourable inside draws. His draw of eight and the strength of the field makes it very hard to see him as a player here. Not for us Selections The All Stars duo look to have a class edge over this field and the big decision is which one of the two do we favour. Most pundits are leaning towards Lazarus from the draw, but we have gone with the stablemate Chase The Dream. His two runs to date have been outstanding and last weeks look at Alexandra Park will have helped him bigtime. Lazarus has all the ringcraft of a natural two year old and could just as easily beat Chase The Dream but either way there will not be much in it. Walkinshaw is a clear third for us on the back of his last couple of runs andTony Herlihy in the bike. For first fours we like Code Black, Max Phactor and Mach Time. Harnesslink Media 

The final heat for the two year old fillies in harness racing's Young Gun Series was held tonight at Alexandra Park  and it was no surprise when the two fillies from the All Star barn fought out a close finish with the resulted evenly shared. Dream About Me and Arden's Choice ran the quinella in the $25,000 Sires Stakes heat at Timaru when they were both on debut and they did it again tonight with Dream About Me again grabbing the win although the margin over  Arden's Choice was only a nose this time. The race turned into a bit of a melee early when both the well supported Nek Time and Goodlookingbabe galloped when disputing the lead after 300 metres which resulted in quite a few of the runners being checked. When the dust settled Gamma Lady and Josh Dickie were left in front with Dream About Me with Tim Williams in the bike parked on her wheel. Natalie Rasmussen set Arden's Choice alight at the 900 metres mark and she quickly made it to the death seat giving Dream About Me a lovely sit in the one by one. Those three went clear at the 400 metres and as they turned for home Ardens Choice worked to the front but was immediately challenged by Dream About Me who had cut the corner and snuck up the passing lane to save ground. There was nothing between them all the way up the straight but at the line Dream About Me was a nose to the good of Arden's Choice with a further 2 3/4 lengths back to Gamma Lady in third. The 1700 metres was cut out in 2:05, a mile rate of 1:58.3 with closing sectionals of 57.4 and 27.6 The runs of the first two were both full of merit and which ever one draws better in the $80,000 Final of the Young Guns next week probably deserves favouritism. Dream About Me did get her head around several times during the running and will benefit next week after her first run right handed. Dream About Me is an out and out "blue blood' being a  Bettor's Delight half sister to the champion Christen Me. Her dam of course is a half sister to Adore Me so it just doesn't get any better than that. Driver Tim Williams was happy enough with the run of Dream About Me. " She is still very green and has a lot to learn." " It was her first run right handed and she should benefit immensely from the experience." " Taking the passing lane helped her round the last bend and I was just lucky it worked out," Tim said. The All Stars pair look a class above the fillies to have raced in the series to date and appear the logical quinella in next weeks final. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing two year olds are only a week away from the first of this seasons Group 1 races with the the finals of the Young Guns series and Chase The Dream sent all the other two year olds involved in the colts section a clear message that he is the horse to beat next week with an emphatic victory at Alexandra Park tonight. Stable mate Lazarus has looked very professional in two earlier wins in the Young Guns series late last year but Chase The Dream was every bit as impressive tonight at Alexandra Park. Driver Natalie Rasmussen dropped him off the gate from barrier eight and Chase The Dream ended up last and fifteen lengths off the lead after 400 metres. Natalie then gave him his head and in the next 600 metres he went from last to first as he swept to the lead over last start winner Walkinshaw. Held back to the field down the back straight, Chase The Dream shot away at the point of the turn and gave nothing else a look in as he cruised home by 2 3/4 lengths. What made the run even more impressive was the 1700 metres was cut out in a quick 2:04.1, a mile rate of 1:57.3 with closing sectionals of 59 and 28.3 Chase The Dream won his debut run left handed when taking out the Sapling Stakes at Ashburton in 1:54.9 but Natalie was confident of his chances tonight right handed. " He actually goes better this way round at home," Natalie told Trackside prior to the race. A son of champion sire Bettor's Delight, Chase The Dream is from a Christian Cullen daughter of the former star two and three year old Western Dream 1:56.3 ($327,137) and was brought out of last years Premier Sale at Christchurch by long time All Star client, Jean Feiss of Melbourne for $52,500. Natalie was suitably impressed. " He is a very versatile little horse." " I think he is as quick as he is strong so you have options with him" " He felt really great out there tonight." " He is pretty green so it was good to give him a really good look at the track this week," Natalie said. The manner of Chase The Dream's victory tonight will have shaken the confidence of all of his opponents including Lazarus leading into next weeks $100,000  Young Guns Final. Harnesslink Media  

Talented harness racing participant Josh Aiken will represent Victoria in the 2015 Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. The series is scheduled to be held in May in New Zealand, with the opening heat in Cambridge on the 7th. Open to drivers under 25 at the beginning of the Australian or New Zealand racing seasons, the series will be spread across four race meetings. Aiken will compete against drivers from each Australian state and four from New Zealand, along with defending champion, Andre Poutama. Thrilled to represent his state, Aiken stated he is keen to pit his skills against a host of the Southern Hemisphere’s rising stars. “It’s obviously a big privilege to be chosen at all, but the junior drivers are very strong at the moment,” Aiken declared.  “I’ve never driven in New Zealand, and I’m looking forward to everything, including driving on new tracks. “Dad (leading horseman, David) still talks about the drivers’ series he has been in.  I’m going to have the time of my life.” PAUL COURTS

Some things in harness racing never change and that was reinforced yet again this evening when the first heat of the "Young Guns" series for juveniles was held at Alexandra Park. The All Stars barn of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen always have 2 year olds ready to go early in the season and tonight was no exception with the leading New Zealand barn represented by the son of Bettor's Delight in Lazarus. Purchased out of the New Zealand Premier sale in February for $75,000, Lazarus is from the Christian Cullen mare Bethany who is closely related to the former topliners Stars And Stripes 1:51.2 ($795,750) and Light And Sound 1:50.4 ($560,904). Drawing six at the barrier, driver Mark Purdon set Lazarus alight out of the gate and he worked to the front after 300 metres from the well supported Kimani who settled in the trail. Mark immediately took the foot off the throttle and was allowed to dictate a moderate tempo during the mid stages. Increasing the tempo from the half, Mark pressed the go button at the 400 metres but had company as they straightened for the run home with Kimani on his inside and Swamp Major on his outer. Just when it looked like he may be beaten, Lazarus pulled away the last 75 metres for a 1/2 length victory on debut with Swamp Major and Kimani filling the minor placings. Lazarus paced the 1700 metres in a moderate 2:08.2, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and the final 400 metres in a sizzling 26.8. While there are still another five heats before the final in early March, Lazarus showed enough tonight to suggest he will be a leading candidate in ten weeks time. Harnesslink Media    

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