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From the time he stepped onto a racetrack as a four year old, Waterloo Sunset has always looked a horse headed to the best grades. An entire by Sundon from the Rowe Cup winning mare Inspire, Waterloo Sunset is a blue blood in anyones language and he has the ability to go with the bloodlines. Last night at Addington Raceway he comfortably won his fifth race from just twenty starts and in doing so edged closer to being a genuine open class contender. Paul Nairn is a master trainer of squaregaiters and he has always thought that with time Waterloo Sunset would make it to the elite level in New Zealand. " I have always thought a lot of him from day one and I still think he will get better yet" " We have come a long way with him but I think the best is yet to come." "One thing I do know is that he is the biggest horse I have ever trained," Paul said. When you see Waterloo Sunset in the flesh you can understand Paul's sentiments as he is one huge piece of horseflesh. That in itself has meant waiting for Waterloo Sunset to fill out into his massive frame but as a six year old he now looks ready to kick on. Never afraid to back his horses up, Paul intends to keep Waterloo Sunset active over the next few weeks. " He can go to the big trot at Kaikoura on Monday and then race during Cup week," Paul said. Regular driver Bob Butt is confident that Waterloo Sunset has what it takes to be competitive in the top grade. " He is such a different horse this time in to what he use to be." " He use to get really fired up before the start and even during his races but the trips to Auckland have help turn him into a different horse" "He is much more relaxed these days and his manners are really good now"  " He gives you such a great feel when you are driving him and he is the best horse I have driven," Bob said. Paul Nairn has such a big opinion of Waterloo Sunset that he covered some of his own mares with the stallion last season. " I served three mares with him last season and the first of them is due shortly so he about to become a dad for the first time." " He has all the attributes of a top horse and I can't see why he won't leave them," Paul said. Waterloo Sunset has been very patiently handled to date and that patience looks like it is about to pay off. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing driver Natalie Rasmussen has got up off the canvas like a prizefighter to win the Methven Cup. All looked rosy when Messini and Rasmussen won the Group III event, in the Art Major entire's first start back in New Zealand after campaigning in Australia with former Canterbury trainer Brent Lilley. But earlier in the day Rasmussen was smashed onto the track in race six after her drive Emmanuel appeared to slip just after the field he rounded the home bend. In a nasty crash, Gabby's Star, Maximus Prime, Stoney Eyre were all brought down. Drivers Robbie Holmes, Bob Butt and Rasmussen all escaped serious injury but Sam Ottley was airlifted to hospital after suffering moderate spinal injuries. She was to have x-rays on Sunday night. All horses involved are understood to have escaped serious injury. Rasmussen, who co-trains Australasia's leading harness racing stable with Mark Purdon, said she was a bit "battered and bruised" but it was going to take more than a few scrapes and cuts to keep the gritty Australian out of the sulky. The win does not give Messini automatic entry to the New Zealand Trotting Cup but it almost certainly assures his spot and Rasmussen said that takes some pressure off. "If he didn't go any good today we might have had to go to Ashburton just to try and get him a start and I think that would have been a bit soon for him to back up," Rasmussen said. Messini went into the race ranked 18th for the cup and although he did not upset any super stars he did beat four runners ranked ahead of him and with further defections from the top 15 likely he should be joining All Stars stablemate Smolda in the cup. Messini's next start will likely be the Kaikoura Cup Rasmussen and Purdon were expecting a bold run given Messini's quality horse but his driver puts the win down to getting such a good trip. It was a typically patient and calculated drive from Rasmussen who was happy to settle well back in the running line after starting from the 30m tape. But everything fell into place when Ideal Success made a three wide move with around 1000m to run and Rasmussen was able to jump on board the train behind Te Kawau. "It really helped that we didn't have to come out until very late, he hasn't had to do any work in the running," she said. Messini tired in the final stages to shrink his winning margin to half a length but he can be forgiven in his fresh up run over 3000m on the grass. "I think he'll definitely improve off the run," Rasmussen said. Methven was Messini's first run since the Breeders Crown on August 30. Messini paced the trip in 3-51.7 with a mile rate of  2-04.2 and closing sectionals of 58.0 and 29.5. Quick As A Trick put in a super run for second after being slow away from the tapes with No Doctor Needed, Mighty Flying Mac and Te Kawau filling out the top five. Cup hopefuls Belkmyster, Mach's Gladiator, Ideal Success and Lewy Risk did their chances more harm than good when finishing back in the field. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -  Check site here 

Harness racing followers in New Zealand will tell you that when it comes to Premier night racing you back the All Stars barn come what may. Thats how it was tonight in the first race on Premier night at Addington Raceway with the All Stars runner Benicio the warmest of favourites with the punters. Benicio found the death seat a fair way out and when he grabbed the front 200 metres out he looked to have the race in safe keeping until Easy Rider and Bob Butt swooped late and nailed the hot favourite right on the line. Bob Butt was a bit shocked that he had picked up the All Star runner. " On Premier night it is not often that you run down one of the All Stars runners" " When I came out I thought I might get second but it did surprise me that we got up." " However he did impress me last week and he seems to be getting better every start," Bob said. It has been far from plain sailing with the son of Art Official who has shown plenty right from his trials as a two year old. " He ran second to the smart Field Marshal when he qualified but was put aside to strengthen up." " However he was never settled at three and we put him aside again." " This time in he is finally starting to fulfill the promise he showed at two." " He has always had high speed, right from his two year old days," Bob said. The future for Easy Rider is pretty well set in stone with the horse owned in Australia by the long time client of the David and Catherine Butt stable in Tony McGrath. " He has got a few more wins in him here in New Zealand but when he reaches his mark here he will go to Australia so Tony can see him race. " The immediate aim for the four year old is the Futurity final on Show Day," Bob said. The All Star barn are rarely beaten on Premier night but as Easy Rider showed it is not impossible. Harnesslink Media

There was no one more surprised than North Canterbury harness racing trainer Bob Butt at Addington Raceway on Friday night by the manner in which Hall Of Fame dealt to his rivals on his raceday debut. Not that Bob didn't have a good opinion of the son of Rocknroll Hanover but the ease of the win and in near New Zealand record time left him with a big smile on his face. " He is still very green and really doesn't know anything about racing." " There is so much upside to this horse it is scary." " We have had to wait for him as it is no use chasing the Chase The Dream and company when they are not ready for it." " Time will be his biggest friend and he is probably twelve months away from being the finished product," Bob said. Bred by Robin and Jackie Butt who are Bob's grandparents, Hall Of Fame has been in Bob's care all the way through. " I was a bit concerned initially because the dam Special Rose never raced due to her poor gait and all the Rocknroll Hanovers I have had anything to do with have had plenty of ability but also gait issues. " So I was holding my breath a bit when I broke Hall Of Fame in but he is just a beautiful pacer with a great attitude so it has worked out fine," Bob said. Win or lose on debut, Hall Of Fame was going for a four week break after Friday night. " If I look after him now, we should reap the rewards later down the road with him." " I am looking at taking him to Auckland at Christmas time for some grade racing." " The trip away and the experience will do him the world of good." " If he keeps on improving like I think he will, then I will probably target something like the Southern Supremacy Series later in the season," Bob said. As to be expected when a horse wins like that on debut, the bloodstock agents have been very active over the weekend trying to buying Hall Of Fame. " Robin has put up the " Not For Sale" sign at this stage which I really appreciate as it is big plus to have a horse of his quality in the barn," Bob said. Bob Butt has been going from strength to strength in the last few months and in Hall Of Fame he looks to have a horse to help him raise his profile even more. Harnesslink Media  

Sunday's $84,000 Aldebaran Park Australasian Breeders Crown final for two year old colt and gelding trotters at Tabcorp Park Melton  looked a two horse war on paper and that's how it turned out but it wasn't the two horses everybody thought would fight out the finish. Conon Bridge from the Paul Nairn barn was a warm favourite after drawing barrier one and his main danger was expected to be Sundons Courage from the Chris Angove barn who was drawn on Conon Bridge's back at one on the second line. One driver who thought he might be able to upset those predictions was Todd MacFarlane, the trainer driver of Cyclone Chief who had drawn in close at barrier four. Speaking to Harnesslink pre race, Todd thought that Sundons Courage lack of early speed presented an opportunity for him to get across and trail Conon Bridge. And that is exactly how it turned out. After a false start at the first attempt, Conon Bridge burned off the gate at the second attempt leaving a big gap for Cyclone Chief to slot into with Sundons Courage settling three back on the inner. Conon Bridge's driver Bob Butt was in no great hurry in front and with no mid race pressure he had a pretty soft run in front. Passing the 800 metres Bob upped the tempo with a quarter down the back in 29,8 which had most of the field battling before the turn. Cyclone Chief had dropped off a length or two but was still close enough on the corner to be a threat. Half way up the straight Conon Bridge looked home but late in the piece Cyclone Chief surged up on the inner and injected real excitement into the finish. At which point Conon Bridge ducked sideways and inconveniced Cyclone Chief. No sooner had Conon Bridge being declared the winner, than the siren went with Todd alleging the interference had cost him the win. Sitting in on the enquiry, the point the stewards returned to several times was the fact that Todd, even though he had been checked, had not stopped driving Cyclone Chief over the final stages. After a short adjournment, the stewards came back with a finding that while Cyclone Chief had been checked, Todd hadn't stopped driving the horse over the final stages and the close proximity to the finish line led them to dismiss the objection. They did however fine Bob Butt $250 for failing to correct Conon Bridge immediately when he ducked in. Bob Butt was relieved but confident the right decision had been made. " Conon Bridge did shift down the track but I didn't believe he had done enough to lose the race." " I think the fact Todd never stopped driving his horse helped my case," Bob said. Todd Macfarlane was dumbfounded by the decision. " I am in no doubt that if I hadn't been checked I would have won the race."' " Bob's horse has gone super and I have no complaints with anything he said in the room. " The stewards on the other hand seem to have pre-determined the outcome before the hearing had even been held." "Their performance has left a real sour taste in my mouth" Todd said. In the wash up Bob Butt should be congratulated for adding a Group 1 winning drive to his resume and kudos to Todd MacFarlane for taking the decision so professionally in the room. Harnesslink Media  

Conon Bridge defeated Cyclone Chief by a metre to claim Group 1 glory in the Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings Trotters Final at Melton’s Super Sunday program. The Paul Nairn-trained son of Raffaello Ambrosio/Diedre’s Girl survived a protest from the second horse, with the winner veering inwards in the home straight. However, stewards couldn’t be satisfied that the interference cost Cyclone Chief the race and the first horse over the line held his position, much to the relief of the favourite punters. Bob Butt drove the winner and Todd MacFarlane was aboard the second horse. Conon Bridge started $1.40 and led throughout from the pole, his winning mile rate 2:03.9. Cruisin Around ran a mighty race for trainer Michael Hughes and driver Greg Sugars to finish third, while Sundons Courage was fourth from three back along the pegs, running on well after a slow early pace up front. Reina Danzante goes all the way in fillies' final Reina Danzante won her second Group 1 for trainer Nicole Molander and driver Chris Alford with an all-the-way triumph in today’s IMV Technologies Breeders Cown Final for 3YO trotting fillies. The daughter of Armbro Invasion out of champion mare La Coocaracha led from barrier four to score by a neck in a mile rate of 2:00.9, Glenferrie Burn running on for second and My Arya finishing third. “Nicole and Dean (Molander) have done a super job,” Alford said. “Two Group 1s has been great and she should only get better too.” Once in front Reina Danzante posted a 31.4secs first quarter before a 29.4 second split. Reina Danzante got home in 58.7secs. Reina Danzante won the Vicbred Super Series earlier this season. by Cody Winnell

Every week, Harnesslink produces the harness racing ringaround where a group of twenty odd of our leading drivers give us their best tips for the weekend racing. Results in the main have been good with the odd shocker thrown in but last night at Addington Raceway the tipsters had a night to remember. The drivers selected horses in seven races last night at Addington and bagged five winners which is a great strike rate. In started in the first when Gavin Smith selected Paris Princess who led form go to whoa and returned a healthy dividend of $6:60 Blair Orange was the next tipster to see the winners circle with the very talented Southern GNP who was backed in very short but never gave his supporters any cause for concern with an effortless victory. Onto race 6 and Mark Jones was very bullish around the chances of Franco Harrington and the way he cruised to the front and ran away and hid in the home straight showed that his confidence was not misplaced. In race 8, North Canterbury trainer/driver Robbie Holmes had two horses involved in the race and he was very keen on the chances of Clean Break with Gavin Smith in the bike even from the outside of the gate, with Robbie taking the reins on the stablemate Tehoro Holly. The win dividend of $8:70 for Clean Break was a great return for the inform trotter. As happens, the best was saved for last. Three of our tipsters chose their best drives of the week in race 9 last night. Ricky May, John Dunn and Bob Butt were all keen on the chances of their runners and as it turned out none of them were far off the mark. John Dunn worked to the lead on Mr Meddle with Bob Butt settling in the trail with Justalittlebettor and Ricky May and Change The Rulz snookered away four back on the inner. John got away with a couple of cheap quarters in front with Mr Meddle which left enough in the tank to fight off all the challengers in the home straight. Ricky May and Change The Rulz flashed late for an unlucky second just in front of Justalittlebettor and Bob Butt who held third. Mr Meddle paid $10:90 for the win with the quinella paying $15:30 and the trifecta a healthy $185:20 Throw in the double result of Clean Break and Mr Meddle of $49:50 and followers of the ringaround should have made plenty last night. Harnesslink Media

There is a fine line in harness racing between being a racehorse one day and a broodmare the next and that is the fine line that last nights Addington winner Justalittlebettor is walking at the moment. The six year old daughter of Bettors Delight is on her last campaign and will more than likely be served in the spring. Last night she was fresh up after a break of three and a half months from the track, but it was at her pet distance of 1950 metres. Drawing wide at barrier seven, driver Kimberly Butt dropped Justalittlebettor back early and she was still well back passing the 600 metres. But there had been plenty of speed on up front and as the front runners came back to the pack off the back straight there were moves galore out wide. Justalittlebettor got shunted five and then six wide as the field turned for home but kept coming and with a beautifully timed drive from Kimberly got her nose in front right on the line in a very tight finish with the first six home only separated by one tenth of a second. Justalittlebettor paced the 1950 metres on a cold wintry night in 2:23.2, a mile rate of 1:58.1 It was Justalittlebettor's fifth win and along with fifteen placings took her stake earnings over the $55,000 mark. Trainer and part owner Bob Butt was full of praise for Kimberly's drive. "She drove her perfectly." " She is a mare that needs the speed on up front and then just have one run at them and Kimberly timed her run to perfection." " However I am not sure that Justalittlebettor will be racing that much longer as she plenty to offer as a broodmare." " She has won five with a best mile time of 1:54.6pl and her dam Wipe The Floor won five so she has a bit going for her." " She is bred on similar lines to Waikiki Beach's dam being by Bettor's Delight with Windshield Wiper on the bottom line so we are leaning towards Somebeachsomewhere for her first mating,"  Bob said. Harnesslink Media  

New Zealand's leading male two year trotter in 2014/2015 in Conon Bridge is about to head across the Tasman to tackle some late season classics in Victoria. A $7,000 purchase from last years New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch, the son of Raffaello Ambrosio has looked well above average from the first time he stepped onto a track. The winner of three from five starts at two, Conon Bridge has looked more than capable of mixing it with High Gait and Missandei from the All Star barn with his only run where he finished out of the money being when he went off stride in the Harness Jewels. Trained by master trotting trainer Paul Nairn and driven by North Canterbury reinsman Bob Butt, Conon Bridge has two main targets on his Victorian raid as Bob Butt explained to Harnesslink this week. " The first target is the $ 50,000 Redwood Classic over 2190 metres on the second of August at Maryborough which is an open two year old race." " The distance won't hold any worries for him as he showed when winning over 2400 metres last weekend." " Safely through that, Conon Bidge will tackle the Australasian Breeders Crown series and it is a bit different this year with $84,000 finals for both Colts / geldings and fillies so we won't meet the All Stars fillies in that series which is a bonus," Bob said. Bob was really impressed with Conon Bridge's latest performance last weekend where he came off 10 metres to win a C1-C2 handicap trot. " He only did what he had to last Sunday but it is never easy for two year old trotters to beat the older horses over ground so there was a lot of merit in the run," Bob said. Conon Bridge has already earned $51,597 in his debut season and in his present form could well crack the $100,000 mark before he finishes this campaign. Harnesslink Media

It is not often you will find a budding star in a maiden trot in the middle of winter at a harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway. Tonight however was the exception with the beautifully bred Matatoki showing he was a horse with a big future when the two year son of Revenue S got up to win his first start after making a mistake early in the 1950 metres event. Trained and driven by Bob Butt, Matatoki had only been off the place three times prior to tonight and his lack of experience looked like it might cost him early when he had a gallop after 100 metres but he settled quickly and tacked on to the back of the bunch after 300 metres. Given a nice trip up to the leaders, Matatoki grabbed the lead half way up the straight and just managed to see off the well supported Cuddly Jess. Matatoki trotted the 1950 metres in the cold winterly conditions in 2:29.9, a mile rate of 2:03.6 with closing sectionals of 62.5 and 29.1. Bob Butt was suitably impressed with the first up run. " He doesn't know much yet but he wants to be there and that makes such a difference." " He went away good but got a bit rattled when a couple came through underneath him really quickly." "To his credit he came down trotting pretty quick and to get up and win was a great effort," Bob said. Matatoki is bred to be above average being from a Chiola Hanover half sister to the dam of Lyell Creek 1:52.4 ($2,961,137) and the latest Australian sensation, Arboe 1:55.5 who looks very special. Revenue S has been very sparingly used in New Zealand with just 14 foals two year old or older with five winners to date headed by Dead Cat Bounce 1:59.8 ($48,615) However his stint in America showed what he is capable of with earnings there of $19,401,627 headed by the champion trotter Market Share 1:50.2 ($3,684,417) who has a Hambletonian win on his card. Revenue's S average per starter in America of $115,486 is up there with the very best trotting sires in America. Matatoki would seem to inherited all the positive attributes of his maternal family and would appear to have a big future in front of him. Harnesslink Media  

Our harness racing tipsters are having a bit of the winter blues at the moment with less than inspiring results some weeks. Last week saw only two of our tipsters pick winners with Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson doing the honours but we did have eight placegetters and some of those such as Shane Walkinshaw's pick, Takitimu Express paid good money ($4:20) This week we have four meetings in the country and we have picks for them all. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Spinyback was overdue and could win race 2 Shane Walkinshaw - Thinks on his work this week, Jetsdream will win race 4 Craig Ferguson - Gives Mordecai a good chance of going back to back in race 6   Auckland  - Friday night Steven Reid - Reckons Concorde even from barrier 8 will be hard to beat in race 2 Scott Phelan - If Superimposed has any luck from his bad draw,he thinks he can win race 2  Todd Mitchell - Thinks the millionaire Vulcan can add to the bankroll in race 6 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Vice Consul from the front line could win race 7 Tony Herlihy -  Gives The Almighty Johnson a big chance of winning race 8 John Dunn - Rates Return To Sender as hard to roll in race 9 Mark Jones - Thought Rocker Band would be very hard to beat, also in race 9   Addington - Friday night Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of the two year old Matatoki in race 1 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Maddison Hill can upset them in race 2 Tim Williams - Gives Bird Of Paradise a big show even from the second line in race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Zin Zan must win one shortly and thinks it will be in race 7 Ricky May - Thought the southern raider Tetrick would be hard to beat in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Agrees with Ricky that Tetrick will be hard to beat in race 8 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Eden can get the chocolates in race 9   Timaru - Sunday afternoon  Blair Orange - Thought the first starter My Cash would be hard to beat in race 3 Gavin Smith - Very bullish about the chances of Great Things Happen in race 4 Brad Williamson - Reckons Kylie Castleton can bounce back and win race 6 Jim Curtin - Gives Insignificant a chance to upset them at odds, also in race 6  John Curtin - Thought Naughty Maravu only needed some luck for a change to win race 8 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Contractual Issues will be hard to hold out in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Last week was one of the better weeks overall for a while with our tipsters not far off all weekend. Six selected winners with Kyle Marshall leading the way with the $6 shot, JC Jock while Scott Phelan, Blair Orange, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Ricky May also got the job done. What was so frustrating was the tipsters had eleven placegetters including ten second placings over the weekend. This week however we only have three meetings around the country and quite a few of our regulars are not in action this weekend but as usual it would pay to follow the tipsters selections on the first day at Blenheim on Friday to the second day on Sunday. Forbury Park - Thursday night Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Jetsdream just needed an ounce of luck to win race 2 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Mr Handleman is a chance at huge odds, also in race 2 Craig Ferguson - Rates Lamborne Road a big chance to bounce back and win race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Betta Go Fernco can turn it around and win, also in race 5 Brad Williamson - Hopes to celebrate his 21st birthday with a win on Elusive Flight in race 7 Gavin Smith - Gives the two year old Late Mail a big chance of winning race 9 Matthew Williamson - Rates Springbank Eden a chance of upsetting them in race 11   Blenhiem - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Quite keen on the chances of the first starter Dusky Eyre in race 1 Ricky May - Rates Delightful Jack as well overdue and thinks he will win race 2 John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of stable runner Mr Meddle in race 6 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a big push to win race 7 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Art Exhibit is ready to strike and will win race 8     Franklin - Friday night Scott Phelan - Thinks Ideal Roman is a big chance from barrier two in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Rates I Am The One a good each way prospect in race 4 John Curtin - Thought Bettormack second up from a break would win, also in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Reckons The Tracker can carry on his winning streak in race 5 Steven Reid - Gives Franco Nikau a chance of rolling them at big odds, also in race 5 Steven Richardson (TAB) - Rates Chosen Path fresh up a big chance of winning race 6 Kyle Marshall - Thought Kilkeel Lady from barrier two could upset them in race 10   Harnesslink Media

The first big race on today's premier harness racing meeting at Addington was the $65,000 PGG Wrightson Open Trot for the 2 year olds and the small but select field was further testament to how far our two year old trotters have come in recent years. Conon Bridge from the Paul Nairn barn was a warm favourite in front of Wilma's Mate from the David and Catherine Butt barn. He's Like The Wind with Gavin Smith in the bike flew the gate from barrier five to lead and was followed through from the unruly mark by Conon Bridge with Bob Butt in the bike who pressed on to the front. Bob kept up a steady tempo in front until the 600 metres mark where he was joined in front by Wilma's mate and David Butt and the two favourites drew clear of the field. Passing the 450 metres mark,Wilma's Mate went off stride leaving Conon Bridge ten lengths clear as they turned for home and although Gunners Coin and Dexter Dunn and He's Like The Wind closed late, Conon Bidge always looked to have the race in safe keeping. Conon Bridge trotted the 1950 metres in 2:27.9, a mile rate of 2:02 with the last 800 metres in 59.8. Conon Bridge is a son of the deceased stallion Raffaello Ambrosio. Paul Nairn purchased the colt from last years New Zealand Premier sale on behalf of stable clients for the princely sum of $7,000. Bob Butt was confident once he found the front. " With a race like this one you have to take luck out of play" " I knew He's Like The Wind would fly the gate so I followed him through and found the front." "When he got left in front by that much I knew he would knock off but he still had plenty to offer," Bob said.  With one eye on the Harness Jewels, Paul Nairn has yet to make his mind up about weather he will take Conon Bridge off the unruly. " I will have a talk to Bob about it before we make any decisions but with the Jewels so close it may not pay to change too much." " He can get keen in his work at home so putting him on the gate may just light him up and we don't want to do that,"Paul said. Currently fifth on the Harness Jewels leaderboard, Conon Bridge now looms as the horse they have to beat at Ashburton on May 30th. Harnesslink Media

Our harness racing tipsters had another so so week although to be fair they did have a lot of close second placings over the four meetings. There were five winners selected with Clark Barron continuing his hot run at the moment along with Bob Butt, Tony Herlihy, Shane Walkinshaw and Tim Williams and they also had seven placings as well, a lot of them at good odds. This week we have five meetings but none in the deep south which has affected our number of tipsters a bit. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Chantrey back to his favourite track could upset them in race 3 Brendon McLellan - Gives new stable runner Continental Boy a good chance of winning race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of smart 3 year old Robyn's Bad Boy winning race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Hezabluechipboy a big winning chance in race 8  Steve Richardson - Thought The Edge Of Reason could upset them at good odds in race 9   Auckland - Friday night  Maurice McKendry - Really quite keen on the chances of the out of form Sir Richie in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Gives the 2 year old Cyclone Chief a good chance of winning race 2 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Yagunnakissmeornot can bounce back to winning form in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Rates Charming Lavra a big chance of winning again, also in race 4 Steven Reid - Confident that Shedontloveme will go one better this week and win 6 John Dunn - Thought Barry was due a change of luck and could win race 8   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Reckons Saint Michel with the help of the mobile will win race 2 Bob Butt - With two runs under his belt, thought Any Old Way was ready to win, also in race 2  Brad Williamson - Looks like a trifecta as Brad thinks The Silver Fox will win race 2 Tim Williams - Rates the debutante Cash N Flow as very hard to beat in race 5 Jim Curtin - Thought One Over Da Moon on his Rowe Cup run would win race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks King Of Strathfield has been going great and could win, also in race 6 Scott Phelan - Rates Bettor B Amazed a big winning chance even from barrier 9 in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Bracken Ridge a big show of turning his form around and winning race 9   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Very bullish about the chances of Mighty Regal in race 4   Ashburton - Sunday afternoon Ricky May - Rates the first starter Cable Beach very highly and thinks he will win race 4 John Curtin - Thought Gracious Star and Michelle Neilson would make it two in a row and win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Last nights harness racing meeting at Addington was notable in the first instance for being held on a Wednesday night which is unusual to say the least. Several longshots got home early in the programe with one of these being the Andrew Stuart trained Styx On. Driven on racenight for the first time by in form reinsmen Bob Butt, Styx On jumped to an early lead from the 2000 metres stand, steadied them in the middle stages before zipping home in 27.8 to just hold out the big late charge of Matty Groves and Ricky May. Bob liked attitude of the Art Major three year old filly. " She has got lovely manners and that's what got her home tonight" " She does everything right and thats always a big help in standing start races," Bob said. That was the start of what turned out to be a productive night at the office for the North Canterbury horseman. Next up was Kashana in the two year old pace and that was to be the only time Bob missed a dividend bearing place in his five drives with Kashana finishing sixth. Bob's next drive was on a horse he part owns and trains in Ancient Moonlight and he turned in a career best effort to only go under by a nose to Change The Rulz after coming from second last at the 800 metres mark. The son of Live Or Die was privately timed to run his last 800 metres in 57 out three and four wide and Bob was thrilled with the effort. " He went huge from where he was." " I had to go when I did or else it would have just been a sprint from the 400 metres and we would have got nothing". "Going by that run, his next win is not far away," Bob said. The next drive for Bob was on the old warhorse Vulcan who had been very disappointing lately after some good form around christmas time. Away well from his 30 metres handicap, Bob settled Vulcan three back in the running line and didn't move until the corner where to the surprise of everyone, Vulcan sprinted up to the leaders and only went under by 3/4 of a length when running third to the very impressive Belles Son. Bob was a bit non plussed about what to make of the run. " That was a lot more like it tonight but I think the slow sectionals in the middle stages helped." " In saying that, Roddy has been making a few little changes and that probably helped as well," Bob said. Bob's last drive of the night was on the son of American Ideal in Idealindiamonds who is trained by his parents, David and Catherine and once again manners were the key to the win. Away well to lead early, Idealindiamonds was restrained to trail the well supported Sandvik Star after 600 metres and that move was the winning of the race. Sandvik Star took Idealindiamonds to the passing lane and he zipped home in 28.2 to just hold out a fast finishing Four Starzzz Shiraz and Dexter Dunn and claim his second win at just his fourth lifetime start. Bob half expected a good run. " He has got such great manners from the stand and I thought we would get a good run if he could lead early." "He is a wee tradesman and his manners always give him a chance in a race like that," Bob said. Bob has been having a great run lately and the thing to note for punters out there is he rated Waterloo Sunset at Alexandra Park tomorrow night his best drive for the week. Harnesslink Media     

Harness racing is brutal on young sires who don't do a job right from the start and such has been the fate of  the recently deceased Raffaello Ambrosio who served just eight mares last season after failing to fire with small early crops. Tonight one of his twelve live two year olds showed what might have been with a very smart win in the two year old trot at Addington in Christchurch. Conon Bridge is a colt from Diedre's Girl who is a race winning half sister to  Hurricane Flyer ($143,137) and the former smart juvenile trotter Thanksgiving. Starting from the unruly position, driver Bob Butt settled Conon Bridge five back on the inner early before setting him alight after 350 metres and shot him forward to have a look for the lead. Mark Jones on the leader Arannalea was having none of it but the brief speed duel left enough room for Bob to drop Conon Bridge into the trail. Wilma's Mate ranged up to Arannalea on the corner who promptly broke leaving Wilma's Mate in front after which Bob angled Conon Bridge out into the clear and he cruised past Wilma's Mate with 100 metres to go and went to the line an easy winner. Wilma's Mate held second from All Star Angus who didn't help his chances by running about in the straight when looking a chance 200 metres out. Conon Bridge trotted the 1950 metres from the mobile in 2:32.2, a mile rate of 2:05.5 with closing sectionals of 59.4 and 28.6 Bob Butt has a high opinion of the Paul Nairn trained juvenile. " He won that really easily tonight and that was after doing plenty of work early." " When he got to the front he knocked off or else he would have won by a lot more." " He will come off the unruly at some point and should be a major player in all the big races coming up," Bob said. Raffaello Ambrosio may have battled for support since being imported but he looks to have produced one very smart trotter in Conon Bridge. Harnesslink Media

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