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Alexandra Park harness racing results click here! Every yearling buyer dreams of their latest purchase eventually winning on debut. Tony Herlihy just didn’t think if that dream came true with Double Delight it would be in a trotting race. The two-year-old trotting filly showed great determination to win her first start at Alexandra Park on Friday night and while the result itself didn’t surprise Herlihy the type of race sure did. Because he paid $40,000 for Double Delight at the yearling sales last thinking he was buying a lovely pacing filly prospect by exciting pacing stallion Captaintreacherous yet Double Delight trots. Herlihy is surprised as anybody else. “I tried to break her in as a pacer about three times,” laughs the champion horseman. “But all she wanted to do was trot. She was even trotting inside the hopples. “So eventually gave up and we let her do what she wants to do and she does it pretty well.” Captaintreacherous was of course a champion pacer and Double Delight is his 14th winner bred in New Zealand, whether they have won here or in Australia, but his first trotting winner in this part of the world. “Obviously this isn’t what we expected but she has hardly put a foot wrong trotting so I am happy to be proved wrong,” says Herlihy. Double Delight is now qualified straight into the Jewels, leaping to fourth in the leaderboard after just one start. Herlihy will also have his more trotting-bred trotter Bolt For Brilliance at the Jewels, having given the four-year-old a few days off after his brave second to Sundees Son in last week’s Rowe Cup. “I was very happy with him, how couldn’t you be, trotting home in 55 seconds again so he is definitely going to the Jewels.” Herlihy made it a juvenile debutant double when Blameitonthenight was a dominant winner of the night’s pacing race while later in the night Melanion came from well back to win his debut to give The Iceman an ultra-rare debutantes treble on the night. After being allowed to find her feet early Blameitonthenight raced around to sit parked and recorded a 1:56.2 mile rate for the 1700m and she too now finds herself in the top 12 on the leader board for the two-year-old Diamond after just one start. Blameitonthenight is bred to win a Jewels, being by Bettors Delight from 2009 two-year-old Diamond winner Gotta Go Harmony, herself of a daughter of one of New Zealand’s great fillies in Elect To Live. Melanion is a three-year-old son of Bettors Delight and he also had to be good to win pacing 2:41.9 after getting well back in a disorganised race. While Herlihy trained a pacing-bred trotter to win among his treble on Friday night, the north’s top trainers of trotters had a rare pacing winner. Blitzembye lived up to trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett’s big opinion of him to storm home breaking 54.5 for his last 800m and if that official time is right he may well be a horse with a big future. He is the only pacer racing in the stable with 20 trotters and it was one of those, Majestic Princess, who won the very next race on debut to give the Wallis/Hackett stable a running double.   by Michael Guerin

View the Alexandra Park harness racing fields click here! The odd man out of Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett’s stable could end up being their best chance at Alexandra Park tonight. The beach trainers will take 10 horses to headquarters, which is nothing unusual in itself as they often provide valuable horse numbers to help fill out northern meetings. But tonight their team will include Blitzembye (R3, No.7). “We have about 20 trotters but he is the only pacer we have and we really like him,” says Wallis. It is not that the stable are strangers to training pacers and even very good ones as they prepared one of the most under-rated pacers of the last 20 years in Sly Flyin. “We would definitely take more pacers but we do probably prefer the trotters,” admits Wallis. Blitzembye actually resumed for the stable last Friday so the trotters won’t be totally dumbfounded by a set of hopples in the gear bag and he flashed home for second after being driven conservatively. He looks a five-win horse in the making who should thrive in the easier winter competition but tactics early and the tempo of the race could decide his chances from his tricky barrier. “He did a big job to win in the same prep as when he qualified last time so we expect him to be even better this time in.” The star of the trotting team tonight is Invictus although his natural racing style is not suited by his 35m handicap in race nine, the main trot of the night. “The 35m isn’t ideal but he can begin quickly. But it is hard to see him leading. “But away from the best trotters he is hard to beat, especially once he gets closer to the front line.” The Wallis/Hackett stable has three juvenile trotters in the second tote race for that crop in the north this season and Wallis says Faith In Manchester is their best hope. “She galloped last start at Cambridge but we think we have that sorted out,” she offers. They dominate race four tonight with four starters and suggest a roughie for punters, not a bad option in what is not the strongest maiden trot. “Cruise Control might not have the best form but he has ability and won well at the workouts last week so we think he has a real chance, particularly if he gets things right.” High In The Sky is rated an each way chance in race six where her manners could be handy in a capacity field which will make it hard on those who get too far back. The best pacer in show tonight is Sires’ Stakes winner America Dealer, who returns from a wide draw in the feature pace which is unusually the last race on the card. He is only using tonight’s race to get ready for the Jewels and then a Queensland campaign and he could settle last in the small field but he looked very ready when pacing his last 400m in 26.8 to easily beat some of these at the workouts last weekend so if presented at the right time he can still win.   by Michael Guerin

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. Premier harness racing hits Auckland tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:20pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Auckland selections 7th May 2021 Best Bet:  R4 Cyclone Lebron Best Value:  R2 Lynton Creek   Race 1 Double Delight (1) Faith In Manchester (5) American Muscle (2) Quik Barbie (6)   Race 2 Lynton Creek (8) M T Pockets (2) Kayla Maguire (9) Prodigal Pete (4)   Race 3 Lord Verde (2) Blitzembye (7) Cashlodo Flybye (5) Bettor Listen (8)   Race 4 Cyclone Lebron (4) Soledad (5) Majestic Princess (1) Bun In The Oven (3)   Race 5 Cya Art (4) Santa Maria (1) Louie The Punter (2) Commander Cathy (5)   Race 6 Blameitonthenight (4) Ohoka Creed (7) Mercury Rising (5) Sugar Apple (6)    Race 7 High In The Sky (2) Bro Fawkes S (5) My Royal Roxy (6) The Big Bird (14)   Race 8 Je T'Aime (2) John Wayne (10) Melanion (12) Shirley Bromac (4)   Race 9 Invictus (6) Forget The Price Tag (5) Monkey Selfie (4) Kay Cee (7)   Race 10 American Dealer (7) Warloch (5) Raven Banner (1) Dance Time (6)   Harnesslink Media

The month of May features a number of high-class harness racing feature races.   Here we have a look at just what lies ahead.     Invercargill kicks off the Group racing features for the month of May with The Diamond Creek 2yo Classic, Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes (last won by Burnham Boy) and the Macca Lodge/ Nevele R Southland Oaks all to take place on the 2nd of the month. The Southland Oaks in particular has been a race that attracts a strong field with recent winners including Stylish Memphis, the flying Nek Time, and Safedra who has since gone on to be a successful broodmare with Dr Susan and La Rosa among her progeny. Among those looking to hoist the title this year are a pair of nice fillies from the Mark Jones stable in Braeview Kelly and Don't Lie To Me along with the progressive Lifes A Beach, a filly who has draws well and has fine recent form about her.    The Group racing focus shifts North thereafter with The Haras Des Trotteurs Northern Trotting Oaks and Harness Million 2YO Fillies Final to be run and won on the 13th of May at Alexandra Park. The Northern Trotting Oaks being last won in 2019 by the Tony Herlihy driven Tickle Me Pink who would go on to further success at the Jewels capturing the 3YO Ruby title. These features are quickly followed by a stellar card at Addington on the 14th   The Addington card features the Group 1 Nevele R Fillies Series Final alongside two Harness Million features at Listed level, these being the Harness Million for 2YO Trotting types and the 2YO Colts and Geldings final. The Lone Star NZ Sires Stakes Aged Trotters Classic also takes place and rounds off what will be a strong night of racing.   The Group features of May comes to an end with an outstanding night of action on the 21st . The Garrards NZ Sires Stakes 2YO final and The Breeders NZ Oaks are the two Group 1 races that’ll be contested. Princess Tiffany won the Oaks title in 2019 while past winners of the event also include Adore Me (2013) Kiwi Ingenuity (2008) Kate’s First (1997) and Armalight (1980) The all-class Robyn Dundee  won the race in 1960 when driven by one Charlie Franks while Perpetua won the event not so long after peace was declared way back in 1948.   The NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Trotter Championship (Group 2 level) the Garrards NZ Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic and NZB Harness Million 3YO Trot round off the card.   While it’s getting towards the end of the season that doesn’t mean the quality stops.   Ben McMillan 

Copy That has it all to live up to now after joining one of pacing’s elite clubs at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The speed freak four-year-old added a group one staying race to his resume when he led throughout in the $95,000 Dawson Harford Messenger Championship from Bad To The Bone and Amazing Dream in a race that was almost a replica of last week’s Taylor Mile. Copy That won that too and therefore joins a list of modern greats in Spankem, Lazarus, Field Marshal and Christen Me as the other winners on both races in the last decade. Three of that list went on to win a Miracle Mile, while Lazarus won just about everything else so Copy That is now on the big boys list. Driver Maurice McKendry thinks Copy That can measure up to the company he finds himself in. “He is a very good horse, he has a good horse’s speed,” says McKendry. “But he was very strong in the Auckland Cup sitting parked too so I think he could be a Cups winner. “So he has it all in front of him.” Before he has to worry about all that Copy That, who recorded his 19th career success on Friday, will head to the Jewels and then possibly to Australia for The Rising Sun and maybe open class engagements in Queensland. But he adds a great dimension to our open class racing next season with his speed and love of front running, something he hinted at in races like the Flying Stakes at Ashburton and Flying Mile at Cambridge this season. Also adding to our open class stocks will be Bad To The Bone, who has come back from Australia a better pacer and has been enormous sitting parked outside Copy That when second the last two weeks. When you consider he had the Auckland Cup winner in Amazing Dream on his back and she couldn’t get past him on Friday, Bad To The Bone is a serious open class horse himself. While Amazing Dream wasn’t suited by the slow mid-race tempo of the Taylor Mile nothing seems to bother her stablemate True Fantasy, who was brilliant again in the $120,000 Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Championship earlier on Friday. She came from near last over 1700m to down Suntan like a special juvenile filly in a crop that looks to have real depth. “She is a real Bettors Delight, every time she goes to the races she gets better,” says driver Natalie Rasmussen. “Not many can do what she did here the last two weeks and she is just so laid back and takes it all in. “But she is a very good filly.” It would be easy to think that with both fillies races in the last week being decided by such small margins there isn’t much between this crop and maybe there isn’t. But it would take a brave punter to bet against True Fantasy at the moment because it is hard to imagine her getting worse runs that she has at this carnival and she still wins.   By Michael Guerin

View the Alexandra Park harness racing fields click here! Trainer Ray Green has some advice for punters worried about Copy That’s staying stats heading into tonight’s $95,000 Messenger at Alexandra Park. “Go back and watch the Auckland Cup,” says Green. Because Green says Copy That’s massive third in that 3200m thriller on New Years Eve is the only proof punters should need that he will handle the 2700m mobile in tonight’s four-year-old Group One. Copy That is the hot favourite for the Messenger as he tries to complete a double with last week’s Taylor Mile that tends to lead to greatness for those special enough to achieve it. He led all the way last Friday and from barrier two is expected to assume control even easier tonight so the Messenger looks his to lose but any punter looking to get seriously involved in backing him might do a double take as his staying stats: one win in six career starts past 2400m. With his high cruising speed and short coupled frame Copy That probably is at his most potent sprinting but trainer Green says the Auckland Cup third behind Amazing Dream and Spankem after he was parked for much of the race leaves no doubts his stable star will stay. “That allayed any fears for me and should for anybody else,” says Green matter-of-factly. “He was great that night and he was also luckless in the Northern Derby last year over 2700m so I am not worried about that at all. “He has come through last week well and I think he will lead and be very hard to catch.” Copy That has actually won over 2700m from a standing start in a very quick time and had excuses in all his other longer distance defeats so as much as he has yet to totally prove himself as a big boy stayer deeper investigations of his stats suggest he can snare his second group one tonight. He should be aided by what appears to be a lack of pressure in the race. Bad To The Bone poured in on last week over a mile but it would surprise to see him try that over 2700m. So if Copy That can get to the 800m mark having only run even, solid sectionals not only should be be able to whizz home in 55 seconds but his greatest danger, Amazing Dream, will not have had the tempo needed to finish over top of him. Having won both that Northern Derby and Auckland Cup, Amazing Dream is the logical danger if things do get hectic tonight and her male rivals come back to her but she is not really a mare who can do that bullying herself and expect to win at this level. While Copy That will be looking to make a lie of his staying stats in the Messenger, Sundees Son should continue on his way as a staying freak in the $150,000 What The Hill Rowe Cup. He has only had two starts over 3200m and won them both, this race two years ago and the Dominion at Addington in November and he thrives on distance racing, whether driven aggressively with a sit. It would be easy to be concerned by him drawing barrier one at the busy 3200m start but he has actually started from barrier one in standing starts four times in the last 18 months and stepped away beautifully every time. “I am not worried about the barrier,” says driver John Dunn. “He is never super fast away but I am confident he will step away with them and be handy enough.” Aiding Sundees Son is the fact only six horses start off the front line, the other four on the unruly, so he shouldn’t have to stand too long after coming into line first. If he trots squarely throughout he should win but if he does make a mistake then Bolt For Brilliance in the obvious danger while Majestic Man should improve lengths on last week and is likely to be one of the first away of the favourites. Temporale looks the best place value as a good standing start horse and former winner of this race.   by Michael Guerin

View the harness racing fields for Friday night at Alexandra Park. At first glance the three favourites for the glamour races of Rowe Cup night at Alexandra Park appear to have been handed the perfect draws to continue their dominance of the carnival. But when it comes to trotters Sundees Son and Five Wise Men those looks may be deceiving. Copy That in the Taylor Mile, Sundees Son in the Anzac Cup and Five Wise Men (Sires Stakes) all won their major assignments last Friday night and will be hot favourites to do so in group ones this Friday, Alexandra Park’s biggest night meeting of the season. Copy That has drawn barrier two in the $95,000 Dawson Harford Messenger and looks certain to lead and take a power of beating again. Even though Bad To The Bone got very close to Copy That last Friday he was coming off a strong diet of mile racing at Menangle and was super but Copy That and he beat the rest easily enough. So if he lands in front again, as it looks almost certain, then it it going to take some intense mid-race pressure and maybe an Amazing Dream (barrier four) special to down Copy That. Punters might feel the same way when they initially see Sundees Son drawn the ace in the Rowe Cup, especially after his thumping win in the Anzac Cup last Friday. If Sundees Son can step to the lead or even stay handy in the first three or four then he should defend the What The Hill Rowe Cup title he won in 2019 (the race was not held last season) but few trainers like barrier one in 3200m standing start races. Often, as we saw in this season’s controversial New Zealand Cup, the horses who come into line first for inside draws in standing start races can get left flat when those wider on the track come up later and can have momentum. It happens less in the North Island where oddly, considering they have less standing starts, they seem to run more smoothly than in Canterbury. Aiding Sundees Son as he tries to beat the curse of barrier 1 in a major 3200m group one is the fact there are only six others runners on the front line, with the remaining four starters on the unruly. That should, and when you are talking about standing starts should is always they key word, mean Sundees Son and those drawn inside don’t have to stand around for too long and even if he is a touch slow he won’t have a dozen horses in front of him because it is only a small field. Still, punters wanting to take odds-on about him will have the right to be nervous in the seconds before the standing start tapes ping. Five Wise Men could also be odds-on in the Breckon Farms Trotting Derby as barrier four looks almost ideal over the 2700m, especially as he handled his Alexandra Park debut like a pro last week. But drawn directly inside him is speedster Leaf Stride, who has been luckless in his last two starts behind Five Wise Men and his trainer Phil Williamson wanted a front line draw this week to use his gate speed. He has got that and the tactics his team decide on if he does lead could decide the race. The group one winner from last Friday facing the greatest test is juvenile pacing filly True Fantasy who has drawn the outside of the second line in the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes, which could be extremely difficult to overcome over 1700m.   by Michael Guerin

Alexandra Park will be re-surfaced this week to save a repeat of the sub-standard track conditions that dogged last Friday's premier meeting. Many drivers were left annoyed by the extremely sloppy track conditions for last week's Taylor Mile meeting that one senior driver called "as bad as the track has ever been." A downpour before the opening race last Friday left the track beach-like and drivers complained of not being able to see as most returned after races with their faces caked in wet mud. Auckland Trotting Club vice president Jamie MacKinnon admits the track was less than perfect but says staff were caught out by the severity of the pre-race downpour. "The track was conditioned on Thursday to soften it up and provide enough top," explains MacKinnon. "Then our crew checked the rain radar on Friday around 2pm and while some rain for forecast nothing like the deluge that we got. "So with the track having the top needed to provide cushion for good weather once it rained that hard it got too sloppy. "We admit that and it was just a case of the weather turning and the track not being prepared for that eventuality. But we couldn't see that coming, it was just bad luck." Alexandra Park is usually one of the best wet-weather tracks in the country because much of the surface is shell so the water runs off in to the inside, especially as the track is well cambered. Club officials considered re-topping it with new shell last week but thought it was good enough to race on but that work will now be completed this week before Friday night's Rowe Cup meeting, Alexandra Park's biggest night meeting of the season. "We are not trying to hide from it, the track wasn't good enough last week but it will be better this Friday," says MacKinnon. While the excessive kick back of wet surface may have been less than ideal the times were still quick for most of the night and it didn't seem to greatly effect the results. Of the 10 winners four led, which is less than would usually be expected for a premier meeting, even though increased kick back would seem to favour leaders. Of the other six winners two came up the passing lane, two from off the markers in midfield and the other two won coming wide from near last. Considering most premier harness meetings are dominated by the horses on the speed, the differing positions the winners came from suggested fair, if uncomfortable, racing. One trainer hoping not just the track improves between the two Fridays but also his stable star is Phil Williamson with Majestic Man. The speedster led but buckled in the Anzac Cup won by his arch-rival Sundees Son and Williamson says he was caught off guard. "It was a tricky prep because he came back from Australia in March after a very busty schedule there and he need a quick break," Williamson explains. "But that meant we couldn't get a trial into him before Friday and he just blew out. "I am sure he will be a lot harder to beat in the Rowe Cup this week but in saying that he hasn't been quite as successful over 3200m as the sprint trips. "So I think he can run a place but they might all struggle to handle Sundees Son." But Williamson thinks he can claim group one glory this Friday with Leaf Stride in the Northern Trotting Derby if the three-year-old can draw to lead. Fields for the huge premier meeting will be confirmed late Tuesday afternoon.   By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Jean Feiss is starting to make the Gr.1 Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (2200m) her own. The Australian-based owner has now won four of the last six editions of the race after True Fantasy ran home late to capture the feature fillies classic at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The Hayden Cullen-trained juvenile was taken back to the rear of the field from her wide draw where driver Mark Purdon sat patiently throughout. He asked True Fantasy to improve three-wide on the back of Chevrons Bypass down the back straight before producing his charge five-wide turning for home. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight was able to showcase her turn of foot in the slushy conditions and score a half-neck victory over Montana Glory, with a further head back to Dance Till Dawn in third. Cullen was impressed with True Fantasy’s performance and was full of praise for Purdon’s tactics. “It was a really good drive by Mark,” Cullen said. “I thought it was very patient and they were running along enough early. She came home really well. “It’s probably the first time she has raced on a track like that, but it didn’t seem to bother her. “The draw was going to be the difficult thing, but we certainly knew the ability was there.” True Fantasy now boasts a record of two wins and a second from three starts and looks the one to beat in next week’s Gr.1 Magness Benrow NZ Sires’ Stakes Filles Championship. “She is a lovely filly and from her first start to her second start she made a big improvement, so her performance on Friday didn’t surprise us,” Cullen said. “She will go again next week in the Sires’ Stakes Final and then the Harness Million the following week, and the Jewels after that, all going well.” True Fantasy was purchased for $70,000 out of Studholme Bloodstock’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred National Yearling Sale by Feiss, who previously won the Fillies Classic with Spanish Armada (2016), Elle Mac (2017), and Amazing Dream (2019). The Feiss-owned Amazing Dream also featured prominently in the Gr.1 Taylor Mile (1609m), running home late to nab fourth, behind Copy That, off a hot speed. “I thought she went super, they got home in 26.7 and she was making ground on them,” trainer Hayden Cullen said. “She will probably be more suited to the Messenger next week.” Meanwhile, stablemate Oscar Bonavena made a pleasing return to the Group One ranks when running third behind Sundees Son in the ANZAC Cup (2200m). The Majestic Son entire was given a beautiful trip in the trail by driver Mark Purdon and stuck on well to secure third position. Off the racing scene for more than a year after a bone chip was found in his knee following an Australian campaign last year, Cullen said he is taking time to regain race fitness, but believes he will take a lot of improvement into next week’s Gr.1 Canam Rowe Cup (3200m). “He looks like he is on the come back now,” Cullen said. “It was a nice run for him, he didn’t do a lot of work. It shouldn’t have taken too much out of him. “He’s taken a big improvement from every run he has had. His fitness is slowly getting there, he is not 100 percent yet, but that run would have tightened him up again nicely. “It’s what happens when they are out for such a long time these older horses. It just takes a few runs for them to get their fitness back again, he is getting there.”

Classy pacer Copy That has added a Group One to his harness racing CV by winning tonights $89,300 Dawson Harford LTD 2021 Taylor Mile Mobile Pace for trainer Ray Green. After having to work hard to find the early lead Copy That had pressure for most of the race from the iron horse Bad To The Bone who had his head in front for much of the race. After fending off the attack, Copy That manged to find a bit more energy close to the line holding out Bad To The Bone by 1/2 a neck with a further 1/2 length away to Steel The Show who fought on well for third after trailing. "He missed a bit of racing due to Covid so it was good to get a Group One with him because he deserves it," said winning driver Maurice McKendry. Copy That (American Ideal - Lively Nights) paced the mile in 1-54.5 in the slushy conditions with a quick last 800m run in 55.3 and last 400m in 26.7 seconds. Copy That winning tonights Taylor Mile   Ealier in the night Sundees Son beat a strong field of trotters to claim the Group One H R Fisken & Sons 2021 Anzac Cup in the hands of John Dunn. It was a good win for Sundees Son (Majestic Son - Stardon) as he trotted the 2200m distance in 2-41.3 on the slushy track which was the fastest winning time in the history of the race. Sundees Son winning the Anzac Cup View the full results from Alexandra Park!   Harnesslink Media

The Hayden Cullen trained True Fantasy has been victorious in tonights Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (Group 1) for two year old harness racing fillies at Alexandra Park. On a rain soaked track True Fantasy ( Bettor's Delight - Secret Notion) was one of the few horses to get home to win after racing back in the field, with most of the winners on the night coming from close to the speed in the testing conditions. Driver Mark Purdon gave praise to the impressive performance after the race. "She really had to knuckle down tonight. She was a way off them turning in but the speed was on all the way and I didn't know when the right time to go was, but she got a reasonable drag up and covered the last quarter doing it all herself, so it was a good effort ," he said. True Fantasy ran the 2200m in 2-44.0 winning narrowly by a neck at the line and holding off a fast closing Montana Glory who flashed home late for second and Dance Till Dawn who was another head away in third. True Fantasy is owned by Jean Feiss. Earlier in the night classy three year old trotter Five Wise Men kept his picket fence form line intact when winning the Group Two Lone Star Sires Stakes Trotters Championship for driver John Dunn. Five Wise Men (Muscle Hill - Harriet Hughes) cruised to the line with petrol in the tank after receiving a good run on the outer until he launched a winning run on the home turn.   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cover Girl will get her chance to grab headlines at Alexandra Park on Friday when she lines-up in the Gr.1 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (2200m). The promising filly impressed on debut at the Auckland track last week when closing late to secure a runner-up result behind Suntan. TAB bookmakers took notice and have subsequently installed her as a $2.90 favourite for Friday’s juvenile feature. Trainer and driver Bob Butt was pleased with how she handled Alexandra Park and said she has thrived at Joshua Dickie’s Clevedon barn this week. “It was a really good run last week,” Butt said. “It was obviously her first time around Alexandra Park and she handled it well. “She has licked the bowl and her work this week has been good, I have just been ticking her over. She seems great.” Butt enjoyed his first Group One win as a trainer last November with Heavyweight Hero and he is keen to taste elite-level success once again. “It is what you are in the game for,” he said. “It is even more pleasurable when you train them yourself.” Cover Girl has drawn the ace marble and Butt said she should get every opportunity from there. “It’s a step up again but she seems to have a bit of class on her side. She has got the draw so hopefully she can go a good race,” he said. Cover Girl will remain in the North Island over the next month with plenty of northern spoils up for grabs. “She has got the Sires’ Stakes next week and then the Harness Millions, and hopefully if she is going alright she will stay up for the Jewels,” Butt said. Meanwhile, Butt is looking forward to lining up a handful of stable runners in Canterbury this weekend. Last start winner Roll With Eunice will contest the El Alamein Fillies & Mares Mobile Pace (1609m) at Rangiora on Sunday and Butt said she will have her work cut out for her starting from the outside of the second row over the mile. “It’s a funny race since she is in a mile,” he said. “They start on the bend and she hasn’t drawn that well. She should hopefully be a good chance, she has got good speed. She won’t be far away.” Butt will head to Methven’s Monday meeting with two chances - Creme De La Creme in the Yaldhurst Hotel Trot (2400m) and Terror Maria in the Carrfield Livestock Junior Drivers Mobile Pace (2300m). “The maiden trotter is still learning the game. They will be a place chance if everything goes right,” Butt said. “Terror Maria never runs a bad race. She hasn’t got the best of draws (outside of the second row), but it is a junior race so hopefully they go hard up front and she will be running home late.” View the Auckland fields click here!

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. Premier harness racing hits Auckland tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:26pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Alexandra Park selections 23rd April 2021 Best Bet:  R3 American Pride Best Value:  R9 Louie The Punter   Race 1 Bettor Listen (4) Santa Maria (3) Meetmeinsorrento (1) Jack Tar (10)   Race 2 Queen Of Strathfield (6) Aldebaran Flame (11) Constellation (7) Cyclone Lebron (2)   Race 3 American Pride (6) Invictus (7) She Reigns (8) Monkey Selfie (1)   Race 4 Five Wise Men (8) I See Fire (1) Mexicana (4) Son Of Patrick (11)   Race 5 Cover Girl (1) True Fantasy (7) Chantilly (9) A Bettor You (6)   Race 6 Bolt For Brilliance (6) Sundees Son (5) Oscar Bonavena (2) One Apollo (7)    Race 7 Copy That (5) Amazing Dream (6) Bad To The Bone (2) Christianshavtime (3)   Race 8 The Honey Queen (4) Havtime (8) Warloch (9) Darling Me (2)   Race 9 Louie The Punter (4) Art Nouveau (7) Hesashorething (2) Four Kisses (3)   Race 10 Kelvinz Luck (5) Springbank Mason (7) Liaison (2) Lord Popinjay (1)   Harnesslink Media

Tonight at Alexandra Park we see the Group 1 Dawson Harford Ltd  2021 Taylor Mile.   The race is set to go at 8.21pm and here we showcase the harness racing horses that are racing at Group 1 level!!   Congratulations to all of the connections getting a chance to contest this year's race- we wish you all the very best of luck!     HRNZ

New Zealand’s most exciting young trotter is relying on a friend in high places to help him overcome the Alexandra Park hoodoo that affects so many first-time visitors. Five Wise Men makes his Alexandra Park debut in $62,500 Lone Star Sires’ Stakes Trot tomorrow night and after five straight wins including the NZ Trotting Derby he is on-odds to win again. But Alexandra Park, the only right-handed major harness venue in Australasia, can present a tough challenge for newcomers, especially young trotters who are often still working out which legs goes where under pressure. To add to that pressure Five Wise Men has drawn the outside of the front line tomorrow night which means he almost certainly won’t be able to quickly find the comfort of the marker pegs and that usually increases the chances of newcomers hanging, particularly under pressure around the final bend. Co-trainer Craig Edmonds isn’t too concerned though and has even moved his usual northern base to give Five Wise Men valuable right-handed experience. Edmonds is also caretaker trainer for superstar trotter Sundees Son in the north and when he brought him up over the summer they stayed out at a beach property but this trip they are staying at the Pukekohe track so Sundees Son can help guide Five Wise Men around that track. “I have paired them up at the track and only take Sundees Son to the beach on fast work days,” says Edmonds. “That means I have been able to work Five Wise Men a bit right-handed on the Pukekohe track and he seems to be handling it fine. “We weren’t so much worried as unsure because he had only been worked right-handed once in his life before coming up here but I think if he can handle Pukekohe he will handle Alexandra Park.” While Five Wise Men can look rocky in his gait and over-race Edmonds say he is actually clean gaited so that is unlikely to be the problem in tomorrow’s group two. “He can hang in a bit this way around so we have put a (boring) pole on him to help with that. “I think he will be okay this week but I expect him to be better next week after a run here and with the Derby distance suiting better.” Sundees Son is favourite for the $95,000 Anzac Cup, a race he won in dazzling style two years ago, even after being beaten in both starts this campaign. “I think he will be fitter for those two runs at Addington and he worked well before coming up here so he will be hard.” Sundees Son meets the hottest field of the New Zealand trotting season with old rivals Majestic Man and Temporale joined by young star Bolt For Brilliance and Oscar Bonavena. Five Wise Men opened the $1.95 favourite for his race and Sundees Son at $2.40 for his, with both to be driven by Edmonds’s son-in-law John Dunn. Copy That was the $2.10 opening quote favourite for tomorrow night’s Taylor Mile but was quickly backed into $1.85, well inside Auckland Cup winner Amazing Dream who has drifted to $2.9.   by Michael Guerin

The third leg of the 2021 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters takes place this Friday night. And action heads across the ditch with the running of the Gr.1 $95,000 HR Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland. The ANZAC Cup will be followed by the Gr.1 $150,000 Rowe Cup next week at the same venue. As it stands, following the two opening legs of the Trotting Masters, which were staged in Melbourne at TABCORP Park, Melton – the spoils were split following the victory of Tornado Valley in the $300,000 What The Hill Great Southern Star while the New Zealand prepared Majestic Man scored in the $100,000 Hygain Australian Grand Prix. So, the race to be crowned the 2021 Trotting Master is very much alive. And the frontrunner for the title is Majestic Man as the Phil Williamson prepared star has returned to his homeland and starts in Friday night’s feature. The 2200m mobile start feature inaugurated in 2012 when champion performer I Can Doosit proved triumphant while the likes of Stent, Superbowlcheerleader, Sheemon, Monbet, Habibti Ivy, Lemond and Sundees Son have also tasted success. Last year, the event was not staged owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. A field of seven will chase the prize on Friday night and while numbers are light on the quality is unbelievably deep. Last start Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Championship winner Muscle Mountain is a notable omission while all the other headline acts take their place. Majestic Man has returned from an outstanding Australian campaign which netted him three Gr.1 victories (Dullard Cup, Grand Prix & Aquagait Equine Mile) earlier this year. The Phil and Brad Williamson prepared trotter has not started since winning the Sydney feature, the Aquagait Equine Mile in 1:53.5 back on March 6. Before leaving for his Aussie campaign back in January, Majestic Man won the Gr.3 Cambridge Flying Stakes while in his most recent start at Alexandra Park, he finished third behind Sundees Son and Bolt For Brilliance in the Gr.1 National Trot. The Majestic Man gelding will start from the inside draw as he chases a hat-trick of Gr.1 victories. Interestingly, Phil Williamson has never prepared a winner of the ANZAC Cup to date. Boom trotter Oscar Bonavena returns to the North Island for trainer Hayden Cullen and driver Mark Purdon following two runs back in Christchurch recently. The Majestic Son gelding finished a pleasing second in his return from an injury enforced layoff while he had legitimate excuses last start with wheel issues behind Muscle Mountain in the New Zealand Trotting Championship at his most recent start. Boasting two wins from four starts at the track, Oscar Bonavena was placed in the 2019 Gr.1 National Trot behind Winterfell and Majestic Man. Oscar Bonavena, co-owned by the legendary Roy Purdon along with outstanding North American based horseman Chris Ryder, will start from gate two which will provide Purdon with plenty of options. Talented performer Woodstone is chasing his maiden Gr.1 victory and although winless in three starts this campaign, he’s good enough to feature. Prepared by Robert Dunn and to be driven by Peter Ferguson, Woodstone is already Gr.1 placed after finishing second behind Speeding Spur in the 2018 New Zealand Trotting Championship. A five times winner at the track, Woodstone raced well last week after starting from a big (35m) handicap. Perennial performer Temporale is the oldest performer in this year’s feature but the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained trotter continues to race in excellent form. The multiple Gr.1 winner and highest earning runner in this field boasts 13 victories at the track and is looking to improve on his previous efforts in this event after finishing 12th behind Sundees Son (2019), 7th behind Lemond (2018) and 4th behind Habibti Ivy (2017). Tony Cameron is booked to the drive the eight-year-old gelding. Reigning New Zealand Trotter of the Year Sundees Son is another trotter from the stables of Robert Dunn and the defending champion looks set for another big showing following his recent efforts. Sundees Son was overhauled late by Muscle Mountain in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Championship last start at Addington. The Majestic Son gelding returns to Auckland where he boasts a fine record of 5 wins and 3 placings from 12 starts at the track. No trotter has ever recorded back-to-back victories in the event. Sundees Son has won both the ANZAC and Rowe Cups previously. Leading reinsman John Dunn again takes the drive. Emerging star Bolt For Brilliance looms as a formidable rival following a successful southern campaign which resulted in a victory in the Gr.3 Trotters Classic before finishing third behind Muscle Mountain and Sundees Son in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Championship. With 10 wins from 21 starts, 8 of those victories have come via his home track of Alexandra Park. The Muscle Hill four-year-old is prepared by champion horseman Tony Herlihy. Amazingly, Herlihy has never won an ANZAC Cup. Talented Ashburton trotter One Apollo makes his Alexandra Park debut for trainer Brent White and first-time driver Tim Williams and faces a tough job owing to the draw. The One Over Da Moon gelding struck trouble at his most recent start in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Championship behind Muscle Mountain. The only driver who has multiple victories in the ANZAC Cup is Blair Orange (Superbowlcheerleader & Habibti Ivy) but the star reinsman does not have a drive this year. Both Mark Purdon and John Dunn can join him if successful. Two mares have won the ANZAC Cup (Superbowlcheerleader & Habibti Ivy) but the fairer sex is not represented this year. The Gr.1 $95,000 HR Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup is race 6 on the program and listed to start at 7.51pm local time. The first five placed starters are guaranteed a start in the 2021 Rowe Cup run next week if nominated. View the fields for Alexandra park click here!   Chris Barsby

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