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Some quick thinking more than five years ago continued to pay dividends for trainer Brent Shirley at Ascot Park on Saturday through the win of Tac Mac. The three-year-old booked her ticket into next month’s Southland Oaks Final when powering away from her opposition to score by more than three lengths. Tac Mac is the first foal from Lis Mara mare Tact Minaj, who Shirley didn’t have a lot to do with until after she finished well down the track in a race at Wyndham in 2016. “Trevor Proctor said he was finished with her so I took her home, I went back through her races and the only time she had gone any good was on the grass,” the trainer said. “So, I took her to a grass meeting at Gore a couple of weeks later and she won first up.” Tact Minaj was raced by a group of Shirley’s stable clients including long-time supporter Colin Dixon. Dixon was keen to breed a horse and Shirley encouraged him to take a foal out of Tact Minaj, who is out of the late Derek and Bessie Dynes’ brilliantly performed Tact family. The resulting filly by Mach Three was Tac Mac, who Dixon races with wife Alison, Noddy and Jane Orr, Mark and Linda Tempelman, Peter Forde and Jim Wilks. Tac Mac’s win on Saturday took her to the top of the Southland Oaks qualifying leader-board, effectively assuring her a start in the Group Two feature. Shirley will go into the race will good respect for his opposition, but with confidence his filly will handle a hard-run 2700m. “We have thought all along that she is a good staying filly, so the distance should really suit her.” “It is not easy to go and win an Oaks but she definitely deserves her place in the field and if she gets a bit of luck she will go a very good race.” “One thing about her is that she is coming up at the right time.” “I took her to Addington during Cup Week and nothing went right for her on that trip.” “We gave her a spell after that and it could have been a bit of a blessing that we had to put her out.” “She has come up really good this time.” It has not just been Tac Mac’s work on the training track or the racetrack that has confirmed to Shirley the filly has been thriving this time in. “I took her to the trials at Winton before she had her first start back and after she won I stopped at the supermarket in Winton because Corona (beer) was on special.” “She was booting the back of the float and it was making a heap of noise, so I knew she was pretty well.” “A young kid actually came up to me and said have you got a bull in the back of your float?” Tac Mac will start at Winton, either on April 17 or 23 ahead of her Southland Oaks quest. Shirley and wife Raewyn have taken another foal from Tac Minaj, an American Ideal two-year-old. The couple sold the filly to a client of Wyndham trainers Gordon and Colin Lee last year. Another of Shirley’s stable supporters, leading Invercargill boxing trainer and former reinsman Graeme Thomas bred a Raging Bull filly from the mare this season.   By Jonny Turner

“It worked out perfect,” said trainer Alister Black after Keep On Dreaming recorded his third harness racing win at the Invercargill HRC meeting at Ascot Park today. The quality three year old won his first two starts but finished fifth at Winton last month. “He was crook last start. We treated him. He didn’t need a gut buster today.” Brad Williamson pushed the Bettor’s Delight gelding forward from barrier five with Sweet Belle taking up the front after an early battle with American Mac. Turning in, Sweet Belle looked to have the race won but Keep On Dreaming came strongly up the inside to win by one and a quarter lengths. Black says Keep On Dreaming is likely to race again on the 23rd April at Winton and then head into the Supremacy in early May. “He needs a bit of racing to get switched on. He’s still green and does silly little things. It’ll come to him and he’ll be a lot sharper next time. He loves looking at stuff. That’s why he’s go the blinds on today.” The win was the first for regular stable driver Brad Williamson who recently returned from Australia after a successful campaign with Majestic Man. Williamson has been in quarantine for fourteen days and returned home to Oamaru last week. “Yep it’s good to have him back. It saves me ringing around to find a driver,” said Black. The Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes looks to have a quality group of three year olds this season. The Group Two feature will be run on Diamonds Day on 2nd May. “It’s probably one of the better crops. Time’s always going to be his friend.” Keep On Dreaming is owned by Lindsay and Ian Thompson and was bought at the 2019 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch. “He was a nice cut of a horse. He wasn’t heavy and was probably a bit on the small side and that’s probably why they got him for what they did.” American Lightning looked on track for the Southern Supremacy in May when he won his seventh race at Ascot Park today. Black Op trained and driven by Allan Beck won his fifth race holding to beat a late charging Better Galleon. Northview Peg showed her liking for the sprint distance when she lead from start to finish to win the Regent Roundabout Mobile Pace over 1700 metres. A Rocknroll Dance filly Classy Dancer won her maiden race for trainer Tony Barron and driver John Morrison. Crusher Collins was in the right mood today winning her mobile trot beating stablemate Tweedledee. She’s trained by Lyndon Bond an was driven by Gerard O’Reilly. View the full Invercargill results click here!   By Bruce Stewart

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Ray Faithful kept his reign as strike-rate king at Ascot Park on Thursday when winning the Book Now For Diamonds Day Mobile Pace (2200m) with Suzie Rocks. The local horseman has kept an impressive strike-rate over 30 years as a trainer, and it is something he is pretty proud of. “We have always been a pretty good strike-rate stable, it is something we like to pride ourselves on,” Faithful said. “We don’t like to go unless we think they are ready. But getting up is good. “I have never worked a really big team. I spent three seasons at Ben Calder’s where we had a dozen to 15 horses in work, but back out on my own, I have only trained a maximum of six horses at any one time.” While his stable has been small on numbers, the quality of the graduates has never waned. “We have had a lot of good horses over the years,” he said. “We have been pretty lucky. This filly is carrying on from that. We had English Elegance years ago and this is the same breed.” Suzie Rocks finished second first-up earlier this month behind Bettor Talk Art and Faithful said he took plenty of confidence out of that run. “It was a pretty nice horse that beat her and she was short going into that first go,” he said. “She took heaps of improvement out of it and lined-up a pretty fit horse today.” The daughter of A Rocknroll Dance took an earlier one-one position on Thursday before driver Shane Walkinshaw continued to roll forward with his charge and eventually wrestled the lead off Tac Mac after a speed duel. That proved to be the winning of the race, with Suzie Rocks maintaining her advantage over her rivals, winning by 1-1/4 lengths over Tac Mac, with 1-1/4 lengths back to Debutante Party in third. “She went super,” Faithful said. “It was a pretty tough run, but she is one of those horses that the harder they go the better it suits her.” Faithful was also full of praise for Walkinshaw. “Shane drove the horse well,” he said. “He did everything we asked and he is a really under-rated horseman.”

Craig Ferguson had no trouble smiling for his good friend Rory McCall’s wedding photos on Saturday after Nutcracker won the Group 3 Southland Fillies Classic at Ascot Park. Ferguson was with McCall and his fellow groomsman en-route to the wedding venue when he watched his filly speed to victory in the 2200m feature on his cell phone. Patchy phone coverage meant he could only watch parts of catch-driver Nathan Williamson controlling the race in front with his first starter in a black-type event. But thankfully there were enough bars on his phone to let Ferguson enjoy one of the biggest thrills of his career when Nutcracker passed the post. “I managed to see it, I watched it on my phone,” Ferguson said. “The reception was cutting out, but I managed to see them cross the line, so that was good.” “I certainly had no trouble smiling for the wedding photos and it set up a big weekend.” Having to watch a horse he trains on his phone, rather than from the sulky put Ferguson in what would be the rarest of positions for any accomplished reinsman. He admitted it was unusual, but not without a few perks. “There were no nerves, I just had to sit back and watch it unfold,” Ferguson said. “I didn’t have to worry about driving or anything, so it was quite unique.” Ferguson has a Group 1 placing at the Harness Jewels with Robyns Playboy and the Wrath Of Robyn’s victory in the Group 3 Dunedin 4&5YO Championship on his driving resume. To win a Group 3 event with his first starter as a trainer rates as highly as any of his accomplishments in harness racing. “It is probably the highlight, really,” Ferguson said. “To train one to win a race like that was pretty cool and to do it on debut was quite satisfying.” Ferguson managed to give Nathan Williamson some payback through their win with Nutcracker. Williamson has put Ferguson on Dark Horse in two starts recently and she has managed to win twice. On Saturday their roles reversed. “It was a great drive and it was the drive that won the race, really,” Ferguson said. “Nathan was pretty happy with her, he said she did it pretty easy and she just did what she had to do.” Ferguson and Nutcracker’s owner-breeders Paul and Brendan Duffy have a potential Harness Jewels starter on their hands with their filly currently ranked fourth in qualifying for the 2YO Diamond for two-year-old fillies. The race is on the filly’s agenda so Ferguson will now work on how to progress there. “She has got a bit of money now, so she is certainly in the mix for the Jewels.” “We will just have to sum it up and see where we go and what happens.” It is far from out of the realm of possibilities that the Duffys have two Jewels-eligible horses. Nutcracker is a full sister to Yorokobi, who showed he could foot it with New Zealand Derby favourite Ragazzo Mach when narrowly going down to him in his last start at Winton. Freshened since that December race, the Regan Todd trained three-year-old has trialled twice ahead of his return in Friday night’s Johnny Globe Stakes, an automatic qualifying race for the New Zealand Derby. There, he will again square off with Southland superstar, Ragazzo Mach. Yorokobi is currently ranked just 25th in qualifying for the Harness Jewels 3YO Diamond for three-year-old colts and geldings but will get plenty of opportunities to improve that in the coming weeks.   By Jonny Turner

Ascot Park Raceway has had a makeover ahead of its premier harness racing meeting on Saturday being hosted by the Northern Southland Trotting Club. Three Group 3’s are carded including the $30,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup, the $25,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Southern Lights Trot and the $25,000 Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic. Another feature on the day is the Grinaldi Lodge/Stella Frost $12,000 Ladyship Final. This meeting is part of Southland’s “Big Money March” promotion. The full re-surfacing of the track was carried out this week with 360 tonnes of product being replaced. By all reports local trainers say the track is good to go for Saturday. Racing starts at 12.05pm.   HRNZ

Tristan Larsen is applying the same patience to his career that he used to win with Zach Lowe at Invercargill on Wednesday. The 18-year-old reinsman produced the tiny pacer at the right time in a torrid run race on a soaked track for the first win of Zach Lowe’s career and the sixth of his driver's. “I was proud of him winning because he is only a little horse and it was very testing out there,” says Larsen, the son of trainer Kirk and Michelle. The three-year-old pacer was helped no end by Larsen’s patience in the race and the young man sees his career the same way. Like almost every junior driver who pulls the colours on and starts getting some wins Larsen would like to make the NZ Young Drivers Champs but says it that doesn’t happen this year that is okay, especially as the South Island boosts enormous depth in the junior driver’s ranks. “It is really only my first season of driving because last season was so cut short by Covid,” says Larsen. “I had one winner then and I have had five this season so I am going well. “So if I don’t get enough points for the series this season then hope fully I will learn and be better next season.”  That learning includes working for his father first in the morning, then Brett Gray later and then back to Dad’s late afternoon. “Dad wanted me to go learn from somebody else too and it has worked out well because I now have two people helping me learn.”  On the driving front Tristan says his listens to Brent Barclay as a guide as well as his Dad, even though he looks different in the cart from Kirk’s stiff back style. “I haven’t really moulded myself on another driver, I just try and be me. But Dad and I probably look different in the cart because he has more weight on him than me,” laughs Tristan. “Then again, I am only 65kgs.” Larsen’s drive may have been one of the best of the day but Samantha Ottley was the undoubted star of the driving three winners, giving her half the card of the races that were completed as race two was abandoned. Two of Ottley’s wins were for trainer Michael House taking him to 43 for the season only 10 behind the stalled Purdon/Rasmussen stable so he should pass them at some stage and push for second on the premiership.   by Michael Guerin

Robert Wilson could take a step closer to a personal best season at today’s Invercargill meeting. The Balfour trainer has three of his six racehorses in training engaged at the short and sharp seven-race meeting and all three appear to have at least each way chances. And if any of Tease My Tartan (race one), Galleons Future (race six) or Better Galleon (race seven) were to win it would take Wilson to 10 winners for the season, edging closer to his PB of 13. He recorded that number in the season ending 2017 and is on track for a similar total with good draws a help today. “The draws should definitely help us on Wednesday and we have two of them backing up from Sunday, which has worked well for us before.”Bettor Galleon is the best of Wilson’s trio, having already won five races from 56 starts, and she has high gate speed so looks ideally suited by the ace in the 2200m mobile last race today. “She can use that gate speed to lead early but to be honest she is better with a trail,” says Wilson. “So I’d like her to take a sit on the right horse and hopefully not get pushed too far back.”Bettor Galleon did just that when finishing second to the handy Chuckles last start and looks a good each way chance today. Wilson rates his still learning trotter Galleons Future, who has been luckless lately but looks to be in the right race today. He bolted in in a fast time four starts ago to leave maidens, got trapped wide at Addington when venturing north after that and was taken on in front in a far stronger field last start. “He is a good horse and if his manners are good he will be hard to beat,” says Wilson. “I thought enough of him to take him to Addington a couple of starts ago so he can win a race like this.”Tease My Tartan is a 23-start maiden so may never make it to Addington but Wilson would love to win a race with the now eight-year-old. “That would be very satisfying if we could,” he offers. “We almost sacked him last year but he is a lovely old horse and we have kept going and he has rewarded us with some better runs and I actually think he is getting better. “So I think there is a maiden win in him somewhere even though he doesn’t have much speed.” View the Invercargill fields click here!   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. Harness racing hits Ascot Park 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 good day of racing. Riverton selections 13th February 2021 Best Bet:  R4 Quaddie VC Best Value:  R8 Lifes A Beach   Race 1 Noosa Beach Arizona Doll Honour Before Glory Northview Peg Selections:  Noosa Beach (4),   Arizona Doll (3),   Honour Before Glory (9)   Northview Peg (8)   Race 2 Lifes A Beach Debutante Party Change At The Top Tangier Tango Selections:  Lifes A Beach (4),   Debutante Party (1),   Change At The Top (3)   Tangier Tango (2)   Race 3 Calico Hill Vintage Rose Matrika Fireforefiddle Selections:  Calico Hill (10),   Vintage Rose (12),   Matrika (4)   Fireforefiddle (8)   Race 4 Quaddie VC Smilelikeyameanit Beauty Barry Wonthavtime Selections:  Quaddie VC (12),   Smilelikeyameanit (4),  Beauty Barry (6)   Wonthavtime (3)   Race 5 Miss Auckland Duke Of Dundee Baileys Diamond Lynryd Skynryd Selections:  Miss Auckland (3),   Duke Of Dundee (1),   Baileys Diamond (6)   Lynryd Skynryd (5)   Race 6 Tweedledee Get Lucky Kahress Cuchulainn   Selections:  Tweedledee (7),   Get Lucky (8),   Kahress (2)   Cuchulainn (9)   Race 7 Chuckles Trinity Star Shillelagh Benio Ben Selections:  Chuckles (6),   Trinity Star (11),   Shillelagh (10)   Benio Ben (3)   Race 8 Robyns Playboy U May Cullect Vintage Cheddar Johnny Mac Selections:  Robyns Playboy (7),   U May Cullect (8),  Vintage Cheddar (9)   Johnny Mac (4)   Race 9 Peregrine Wai Key Wee Svelt Riley Moment Selections:  Peregrine (6),   Wai Key Wee (11),   Svelt (8)   Riley Moment (1)   Race 10 Sentry Buck Omaggio  Robyns Shadow Selections:  Sentry (10),   Buck (4),   Omaggio  (11)   Robyns Shadow (5)   Harnesslink Media

Pembrook Playboy’s star is well and truly on the rise. With two Group harness racing wins in his last two starts he’s already being talked about as a potential New Zealand Cup runner next season. After a great beginning in today’s Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup Nathan Williamson settled the entire in third place as Franco Santino took over the pacemakers role. With 1600 metres to run Williamson came off the inside running line and took Pembrook Playboy to the front. “I thought the opportunity was there to take the lead and then they have to come and get you. He’s never been beaten when he’s been in front. He travelled lovely throughout and dropped the bit when he got to the lead. I think it was the right move,” Williamson said. Henry Hubert began to put pressure on Pembrook Playboy inside the last 600, and the second favourite The Fixer was on Henry Hubert’s back. Williamson had a quick peek inside the last 400 metres knowing  his horse was still travelling well within himself. Driven out,  Pembrook Playboy responded. “He actually pulled up in the home straight. He just knocked off once he sprinted clear. Luckily he’s so quick he put a bit of a gap on them and he was good enough to hold on.” The winning time was 3-20.2 just outside Robyns Playboy’s track record of 3-19.8. The time was a new race record, bettering Dadndave’s 3-22.9 recorded last season. This is the second year the race has been run over 2700 metres. The closing splits 54.4 from the 800 metres, and 26.3 from the 400 metres, made it too hard for his rivals to chase him down. The Fixer got closest, a length and a quarter away in second, with Henry Hubert another length and a half away for third. The win was the first for a Southland trained horse since 2016 when Costa Del Magniifico won the feature. “It was a massive thrill winning the race. I’ve made Southland my home for the last ten, twelve years. I’ve always thought it’s the biggest race in our province to win,” said Williamson. Williamson, who only arrived home from driving at Addington at 4.00am this morning says Pembrook Playboy has grown up in the last few months and backing him up after his Central Otago win was not a problem. “He’s so much more mature now. Since Cup Week he’s come on leaps and bounds. I’m looking forward to giving him a few more trips away.  He’s definitely a better horse than he was three months ago.” Pembrook Playboy is owned by Chris Alcock and has now won eight of his fifteen starts and has banked over $80,000. Chris Alcock holding the Invercargill Cup with Chairman of the ILT Alan Dennis       – Photo Bruce Stewart Williamson says the horse will start next in the $30,000 Group Three Summer Cup at Addington in a fortnight. The race is run over 1950 metres under free for all conditions. His travelling companion will be Ragazzo Mach who will line up in the Listed Woodlands Stud Sires Stakes Harness 7000. It’s  worth $40,000.   by Bruce Stewart

Branxholme trainer Alister Black is running hot at the moment, winning three  races at the Invercargill Cup Meeting at Ascot Park today. Zaccy Mac got the ball rolling. Having his second start, he beat Beauty Barry by a length and a quarter in the Beach Road Holiday Park Mobile Pace. “I was pretty happy with his run at Winton. Nathan (Williamson) came back in and said if the horse had got a go he would have run in the first six,” Black said. Driver Matty Williamson settled the Net Ten EOM gelding just beyond midfield on the outside running line before improving to sit parked with a lap to run. “I said to Matty today not to be frightened to send him (forward). He just lacks that bit of high speed so he took the speed out of them down the back, so it couldn’t have worked out better.” With 600 metres to run Williamson served it up to pacemaker Beauty Barry and finished the race off too well. Zaccy Mac was bred by Brent McIntyre at Macca Lodge and is named after his grandson Zac. He’s out of the Falcon Seelster mare Lillian which was bred by Tuapeka Lodge. The gelding is raced by the Thomson brothers Lindsay and Ian, who raced Lawrence, a half-brother to Zaccy Mac. Winners circle, pretty relaxed.                  --Photo Bruce Stewart Three races later Wai Key Wee won his second race from as many starts in the hands of Blair Orange. By The Pres, the four year old began well and with two laps to run Orange took Wai Key Wee to the front. There he stayed, winning by a length and a quarter from early pacemaker Steve. “He’s got beautiful manners. He hasn’t really learned his trade yet. It’ll come. Being out of a Sundon mare, I’ve just let him find his way. Blair said he had plenty left,” Black said. It was the gelding’s second win for his owners Art Shirley, Paul McEntyre and the estates of KJ Egerton and RD Hampton. “It’s hard in Southland. They just get handicapped out of it. We’ll try and find a penalty free race now.” Normally Oamaru driver Brad Williamson would be at the reins for Black but he’s in Australia looking to win Group races with Majestic Man. “I hope he drives a couple of Group Ones over there because he’s missed out on about six winners so far. Hat’s off to him to be going.” Later in the day Black made it three winners for the day when the highly talented Keep On Dreaming won his second race in two starts. The Better’s Delight showed just how green he is, goofing around a bit while challenging for the lead with 1600 metres to run. The win was one of two for Matty Williamson who is in a hot vein of form at the moment too, winning four races at Forbury Park on Thursday. Keep On Dreaming is also owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson and looks to be a leading candidate for the end of season Southern Supremacy Stakes. Meanwhile Boarding Pass won for Kennington trainer Greg Hunter . She won the first race on Cup day in the hands of Craig Ferguson.   by Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Regan Todd heads into Saturday’s Invercargill Cup with plenty of respect for the small but select field Thefixer clashes with. The former New Zealand Cup winner visits his trainer’s home province on the back of a strong North Island campaign which ended with his second placing behind Copy That in the Cambridge Flying Mile. Some might argue Thefixer will be to be dropping in class at Ascot Park after racing New Zealand’s established open class stars. Though Todd does not fully agree with, especially considering his horse starts from the 30m back mark in Saturday’s 2700m handicap. “I wouldn’t say it is a big drop back,” Todd said. “I know the ones he raced up north are pretty smart – Self Assured and Copy That.” “But the ones down south have been pretty impressive.” “He has got to give Pembrook Playboy and horses like him 20m.” “It is still not going to be easy to win.” Thefixer comes into the Invercargill Cup without having raced in over three weeks. Todd is confident his the seven-year-old’s fitness levels are where they need to be with the work he has had since. “He had the trip home and then he was basically straight back into it.” “He has had that racing early in the New Year and at Cambridge.” “So I would be surprised if he has lost too much fitness.” “He looks good, the old fella.” Thefixer is the lone 30m marker, 10m behind 20m handicappers Vintage Cheddar and Henry Hubert. The Canterbury pacer’s biggest threat Pembrook’s Playboy starts from the 10m mark alongside Robyns Playboy. Todd hopes Thefixer’s usually brilliant standing start manners can help him overcome his handicap. “In the Franklin Cup he was off 30m and he ended up pretty handy early.” “If some of the horses in front of us were slow away it might work to our advantage.” Pembrook Playboy is set to start favourite for the Invercargill Cup after his dazzling win in the Central Otago Cup at Winton. The Nathan Williamson trained four-year-old left all of his Invercargill Cup rivals, except Thefixer and Franco Santino, in his wake when unleashing a brilliant finish to win last week. Thefixer will be driven by Bob Butt, who has picked up three catch drives on the Invercargill programme. Butt drives Robo Trouble in race 5 following the trotter’s unlucky fifth at Winton where he was denied clear running in the home straight. Butt will also combine with A Taste Of Honey in race 8 and Better Galleon in race 9.

She had every right to get beaten, but the class and fighting qualities of Ashburton filly Better’s Tart prevailed and provided the highlight of the Southern Harness scene so far this season. “From what she did today she’s got a future. It was only her third start and it was a pretty tough run,” said driver Sam Ottley. From a wide draw Ottley wasn’t able to get cover and sat three or four out until sitting parked with a lap to run. “They all punched up and made us work a bit but that’s competitive racing isn’t it.” Ottley said the Brent White trained filly wasn’t overly fazed at being posted wide. “She was very relaxed. Typical Bettor’s. She dropped the bit wherever I put her. Down the back straight she was still relaxed and entitled to get tired but to her credit she picked the bit up in the straight and wouldn’t let anything pass her.” The winning margin at the end of the 2200 metre mobile was three quarters of a length with second favourite Magic Mike running second.   Bruce Stewart

King Of Trumps looks to have a bright future – he won well on debut at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park today. He was taken straight to the front by driver Brad Williamson and while some of the more favoured runners struck trouble, the talented American Ideal gelding stayed on nicely to beat Tommy Waterhouse by two and a half lengths with Speights On Tap running third. King Of Trumps was bred locally by Russell Morton and is out of the McArdle mare Queen Of The Crop. The three year old gelding is closely related to the handy New York Town. He’s owned by Black along with stable helpers Craig Milne and Paul McEntyre, and the partnership payed $17,000 for him as a yearling. “I had New York Town a few years ago and he did a good job. Craig (Milne) and I spotted him (King Of Trumps) at the sales. I was saying stop (bidding) and Craig carried on. It’s good for Russell. He’s got a full brother to him at the sales. The win today by this horse should help the price a bit,” Black said. King Of Trumps had a couple of workouts as a two year old but was immature and was turned out. “I’ve always like him. He’s always had speed and he’s tough too, and he showed that today. He’s still a bit green but he’ll come to it. He’ll have a few days off now and we’ve got a bit of time before the Supremacy if he’s not sold.” Black’s two stable stars Vintage Cheddar and Get Lucky are down to start again at Winton next week. “Really happy with them. The Central Otago Cup will be for Vintage Cheddar and there’s a nice trotting race for Get Lucky.”   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 Invercargill today with a twelve race program starting at 3:18pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Invercargill selections 13th January 2021 Best Bet:  R12 Croesus Best Value:  R9 Aveross Majesty Invercargill selections 13th January 2021   Race 1 Sacred Mountain not far away from the placings in stronger fields. One of the leading chances in this lineup….. Galleons Future tidy second last start and seems ok at the start. Good winning claims…… It's Summertime has run some good races but manners a concern. No surprise to see him in the money at good odds if he trots all the way….. Dem Bones Dem Bones running on well last start and only needs a safe beginning to be in the money again here Selections:  Dem Bones Dem Bones (8),   Sacred Mountain (9),   Galleons Future (3)   It's Summertime (6)   Race 2 Noosa Beach going well before disappointing last start on grass. Has to be a big chance here but will need luck from the draw.……. Jaffie J building a reasonable form line and looks a good win hope again here. Has to be included…… The Naenae Express throws in the odd good race but tricky draw. Place chances look best but has claims…… Shezdawon has been disappointing but not the worst in a weak field. One for longer odds Selections:  Jaffie J (12),  Noosa Beach (9),   The Naenae Express (13),   Shezdawon (11)   Race 3 The Night Watchman last run better than it looks on paper. Better draw and good chance at nice odds….. Vintage Rose good third a couple of starts ago and she has run time on the track. Has to be included here….. Lilac Becky good third last start and will be improved. Can run top three here….. Archman has been disappointing but getting fitter with a nice draw. One for longer odds Selections:   Vintage Rose (15),   The Night Watchman (5),   Archman (4)    Lilac Becky (1)   Race 4 Maudarchy quick beginner who will take some catching if she can land the front from the front row draw. Top selection here….. Funky Monkey racing into form and has been good in stronger fields. Great winning chance at good odds….. Miss Crazed an early gallop cost her last start. Can win with her best manners….. Madrik effort for new stable last start and another with a good chance if he trots all the way. Needed Selections:   Maudarchy (7),   Madrik (3),   Miss Crazed (11)   Funky Monkey (10)   Race 5 Seventh Heaven tricky draw but Canterbury raiders have a good record here and trial form is very good. Needed….. King Of Trumps in good form at trials and good draw. Winning claims and tote the guide….. Rock'n Kiwi drawn well and should get a good run in transit. Can win fresh up..….. Bettastar good at workouts and respect the stable. Another first starter with winning claims in an even field Selections:   Bettastar (5),   Rock'n Kiwi (1),   Seventh Heaven (11)   King Of Trumps (2)   Race 6 Emerald Abbey conditions suit and drawn well. Good winning claims and can run top three.…. Lynryd Skynryd nice draw and plenty of ability. One for the leading chances and will give a good sight in front here…… Wrecking Ball tricky draw but has a big finish when saved for one run at them. Place chances best..… Beta Than Love should be quick off the gate and will get a soft run. Winning claims Selections:  Emerald Abbey (2),   Lynryd Skynryd (3),   Beta Than Love (4),   Wrecking Ball (8)   Race 7 Jimmy Cannon building into fitness and well drawn. Upset chance at good odds…. Gabby's Star usually holds his form ok and paying good money. Would be no surprise to see him in the placings here if back to his best….. Tony The Pony has been fair the last couple but lobs up every now and then at good odds. Could upset in the right mood…. Insarchatwist getting better with racing and form is good. Has to be included from the good draw Selections:   Gabby's Star (15),  Insarchatwist (3),   Tony The Pony (10),  Jimmy Cannon (1)   Race 8 Better's Tart good win last start and will be fitter. Stable in form and will be hard to beat if she goes forward early….. Change At The Top good last start and better drawn here. One for longer odds in this….. Rakarippa tricky draw but good last start. Should be close to the placings with luck in the running….. Onedin Hurricane should get a run through early from the draw and form is ok. Needed Selections:   Better's Tart (6),   Rakarippa (9),   Onedin Hurricane (10)  Change At The Top (2)   Race 9 Aveross Majesty racing well and paying great money. Distance suits and will be hard to beat if he can get handy before the home turn….. Tweedledee racing well and good stayer who should appreciate the 2700m. Can run top three at nice odds….. Sekkie Monkey getting to be a bit of a headache at the start but has speed. Can go close with manners ….. Afterburner good run last start and very speedy. Hard to beat here if he can get near the lead early Selections:  Aveross Majesty (10),  Tweedledee (12),   Afterburner (3)    Sekkie Monkey (8)   Race 10 Rocknroll King drawn for a soft run on the fence but will need luck. Winning claims at good odds with a trail all the way….. Watch Me Now running on last start and should get a run forward early. Good winning claims….. Yankee Party tricky draw but good win last start. One of the leading chances here and has  to be hard to beat….. Love On The Rocks in good form and drawn to get a run through early. Quick improver who can win Selections:   Watch Me Now (7),   Yankee Party (6),   Love On The Rocks (10)   Rocknroll King (1)   Race 11 Sentry freshened for this and has a big reputation. Top selection here….. Wolfenstein racing into form and has been good in stronger fields. Great winning chance at good odds….. Benio Ben has run some good races on the track and well drawn. Tote the guide but has claims….. Tulsa Jaccka drawn for a soft run on the fence and has a good sprint. Needed Selections:   Sentry (5),   Wolfenstein (11),   Tulsa Jaccka (1)   Benio Ben (2)   Race 12 Flight Crew tricky draw but big on ability. Manners a bit of a concern but no surprise to see her winning this….. Croesus in good form at trials and has been racing better fields. Winning claims and will start favourite….. Baileys Diamond drawn well and should get a good run in transit. Can win with a god run in transit..….. El Dorado good last start and respect the stable. Will need luck from the draw but has winning claims Selections:   Croesus (7),   Baileys Diamond (5),   Flight Crew (11)   El Dorado (12)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    A cool and calm drive from Kerryn Tomlinson helped her pay tribute to her late great-grandmother when Miss Crazed produced a brilliant effort to win at Ascot Park yesterday. Tomlinson wore a black armband during yesterday’s meeting in memory on her great grandmother, Shirley Stokes, who died in Canterbury on Tuesday. Stokes is the mother of Dianne Ford, wife of Canterbury trainer Ken Ford. Stokes was a big supporter of her great grandchildren - Tomlinson and her sister, Sheree. Tomlinson was eager to pay tribute to her great grandmother when driving for the first time since her passing at yesterday’s meeting. “She was a massive supporter of ours,” the junior driver said. “She followed all of the races and she would always watch Sheree and I on TV.” “She would yell at the TV and cheer us on.” “Her sons own a lot of granddad’s horses, too.” Miss Crazed looked to be building nicely towards delivering Tomlinson and her family a special win until she galloped 1500m from home in yesterday’s 2700m event. “She started hanging around the bend and she hit her knee,” Tomlinson said. “She is still green and she has still got a bit to learn.” The break cost the mare about eight lengths and set her a big task to get up and win with a lap to go. The four-year-old’s assignment got even bigger when she drifted further off the lead at the 800m when the leader King Of The North skipped four lengths clear of the field. Tomlinson worked Miss Crazed back into the race at the 400m and she safely negotiated the same bend she galloped on earlier. With three lengths to make up on King Of The North on the home turn, the junior driver was hopeful, rather than confident she could pull off a special win. “I was really hoping she would get there,” Tomlinson said. “She just kept coming, it was a good effort.” Tomlinson and her sister will again seek to honour their late great grandmother at Motukarara on Sunday. Ken Ford lines up four horses at the Akaroa Trotting Club meeting and his family shares in the ownership of each of them. Kerryn drives Mordecai (race 3) and That’s The Story (race 10). Sheree will drive Uno Mia (race 3) and Hope For Love (race 5). Miss Crazed’s win completed a double for trainer Phil Williamson, who prepared first starter Celebration Stride to win race 1. Miss Crazed’s victory followed another standout performance – Kagee VC’s epic effort to win race 2. The seven-year-old saved the best performance of his career for his 80th start when sitting parked for the entirety of his 2200m assignment in very blustery conditions. Trainer Doug McLachlan admitted he did not see the powerful staying effort coming. McLachlan is Kagee VC’s fifth trainer and he came to his Myross Bush stable with a reputation for being highly strung. But the longer the pacer has stayed, the better his attitude has got. McLachlan puts much of the credit down to the work of down to his partner, Sylvie Crighton, who owns Kagee VC.

Sylvia Crichton loves Kagee VC and her partner Doug McLachlan who trains the gelding, reckons her pampering has made the gelding into the consistent performer he’s become. “He’s Sylvia’s horse. She absolutely spoils him and it’s great what a bit of loving can do,” he said after the horse’s fifth win. The Washington VC seven year old started his career with Matt Saunders, had a short stint with Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown, and was also trained by Paul Ellis. “I got him off Artie Shirley. I went down to his place to get another horse and asked him about a little black horse that was there. I ended up with him at home instead of the one I went to get.” In today’s race despite trying to get to the front twice in the hands of John Morrison, Kagee VC had to sit parked outside leader Swift Robyn. “He did attack a couple of time so his run was commendable. He’s a funny wee horse. He’s aggressive. If he gets back in the field he can lose interest.” On the pedigree side Kagee VC goes back to open class pacer Elmer Gantry the winner of eighteen races. McLachlan says he doesn’t train the horse in the cart at all. “I never work him in the cart. He’s always on the lead with Franco Huntington. No matter what Franco’s going he goes with him.” Racing in Central Otago appears to be the horse’s next target. “I think this wee horse will suit Roxburgh.” Meanwhile Brown’s trainer Des Baynes looked to have another promising race horse in Might Be Me. The American Ideal mare was hunted out of the gate for the first time in her short career and still had enough in the tank at the end of her race to win the $12,000 Fear The Dragon Ladyship Final. She was rated superbly by driver Blair Orange.   Bruce Stewart

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