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Some races, few but some, are so special they never disappoint. Whether won by a champion or an outsider, those races have that magical quality to often produce a fairytale, to take your breath away and think that for all racing’s problems on a good day racetracks can be magical places. The New Zealand Trotting Cup is one of those races, one of the very few we have in this country. But even the great race at Addington two weeks today may be relegated to a supporting role this Cup week as the biggest trot of the carnival, the Dominion on November 15, shapes as something truly special. Because yesterday at Ashburton harness racing fans witnessed two stunning trotting performances from Marcoola and Oscar Bonavena, who are on a collision course in the Dominion. They weren’t the only superstars lighting up Labour Day, with pacing king Spankem too fast and professional in the Flying Stakes, confirming he will be favourite for the NZ Cup. He stepped best, led and then trailed Thefixer before outsprinting him, suggesting they are the clear top two for the Cup. Spankem isn’t sexy, he does little dramatic. He is just a near foolproof horse with great speed and that makes him the first name in all major race markets to another pacer can wrestle that honour away from him. The NZ Cup is his to lose, but that doesn’t mean he can’t lose it. As good as the first pair were yesterday, there was plenty to like about third placed Self Assured, who will dodge the Cup, while Chase Auckland and even A G’s White Socks, whose chances were affected by broken hopple shorteners at the start, did enough to suggest they will arrive at the Cup close to peak. Not so Ultimate Sniper, who was poor yesterday and his Cup campaign might be spluttering. While Victorian stayer San Carlo will add to spice to the Cup and it will undoubtedly produce something memorable because it always does, the race that might really get the blood boiling at Addington could be the Dominion three days later. Marcoola produced a performance for the ages winning the Dominion last year and that rarely-seen version of him was on show at Ashburton yesterday. New driver Sheree Tomlinson liberated him from the ace draw in the Flying Mile and Marcoola loved it. Like the good entires do he got more confident with every unchallenged stride and won by 12 and a half lengths in a national record 1:53.8. It was a beautiful display and if Marcoola can stay in that space mentally and physically till the Dominion it is going to take a freak to stop him defending his title. Cue, Oscar Bonavena three races later. Freak in waiting. The four-year-old is still learning, hence why he was in a standing start intermediate grade race off a 40m handicap because trainer-driver Mark Purdon wants Oscar to cool his jets, not get too big for his boots before the Dominion. Even allowing for the mixed opposition yesterday, winning off a 40m handicap at hard-running Ashburton is never easy but Oscar Bonavena was magnificent, overcoming giving the leaders five seconds soon after the start to thrash his opponents with sustained speed. Like Marcoola he took a chunk out of a national record, his 2:59.8 for the standing start 2400m nearly a second inside the previous mark. He would only need to trot the next 800m in even time (60 seconds) to break the magical four minute mark for 3200m, which no trotter has ever done in this part of the world. It was hard to work out which national record was more stunning. Maybe we won’t know the answer until after that Dominion in 17 days time. Add in the erratic but gifted Sundees Son, who galloped in Marcoola’s mile yesterday and a couple of Aussies and the Dominion has thrown down the gauntlet to the Cup as the harness race of the week. Maybe even the season.   by Michael Guerin

The big news surrounding Addington's feature harness racing rankings this week is undoubtedly Oscar Bonavena, who turned in a herculean performance to book his spot in the Dominion - coming from a relatively low ranking of 27. Oscar Bonavena showed tremendous character to recover from an early break and wear down defending Dominion champ Marcoola in the shadows of the post to take the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup and third place in the rankings (automatic qualifier). The only other move of note within the trotters' section was Theodosia, who continued her recent renaissance with a stylish win in the mid-grade handicap trot. Not a lot has changed in the NZ Cup rankings despite there being several race winners to consider. Spankem who won the Canterbury Classic was already locked for a start but moved up a spot by virtue of Tiger Tara's withdrawal. As a result of a stellar return to form, Henry Hubert, who placed second to Spankem, now slots into 5th on the rankings, with the first three home in the Classic given automatic qualification for our great race. Third placed Classie Brigade moves nowhere as he's already qualified for a start as a result of his Maurice Holmes Vase win. The other pacing winners across the week were Gran Chico, Cullenburn and Robyns Playboy. All three have moved up, sitting 19th, 20th and 21st respectively. Other withdrawals from the Cup and Dominion include: U May Cullect, The Bus, Sagwitch, Ronald J and Nottingham K Two. We can expect to see some more changes to the Rankings next week, following the sustaining payment, which is due Wednesday at 3.00pm. View the full rankings here.   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

The big news with this week’s Rankings is the inclusion of San Carlo whose connections made the late payment last Wednesday for his nomination in the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup. Just one day later San Carlo justified his Cup nomination by winning the Group 2 Kilmore Cup. As a result San Carlo enters the Rankings in eighth position, which goes close to assuring him a Cup start. Habibi Inta was the big winner within the Airpark Canterbury Dominion Trot Rankings. His Group 3 win at Banks Peninsula placed him in eighth in the pecking order. Second placed Valloria edges close to a Dominion start. He jumps from 21st to 18th. There’s plenty more action to look forward to this week with Premier night at Addington on Friday playing to host numerous Cup and Dominion aspirants. View the full rankings here.   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Despite the Hannon being run last week, along with several other relevant races the Cup & Dominion Rankings have been reasonably quiet. Among the Cup nominees Bettorstartdreaming’s connections might be able to do just that after his win in Auckland last week. Both he and runner-up The Devil’s Own have enjoyed moderate bumps to 26th  and 25th in the Rankings, respectively. While the only Rankings action to come out of the Hannon on Sunday saw Ultimate Sniper, nudge up a place to eighth, displacing A G’s White Socks. Among the trotters, two lower-ranked winners were the key movers. Oscar Bonavena and CK Spur won their respective races and improved eight places to 26th and 27th, respectively. Oscar Bonavena keeps his nose ahead of CK Spur by virtue of downing more highly ranked fellow Dominion nominees Winterfell, Valloria and Monty Python at Oamaru last Sunday. For his effort behind Oscar, Winterfell improved two spots to 15th, while Theodosia’s gritty fourth in the same race was enough for her to improve a place, to 35th. The action continues to warm up from here on in. We’ll see five Cup contenders clash in a near-capacity Spring Cup in Auckland on Friday. Auckland will also see some big guns back on deck in the trotting ranks. Lemond, Massive Metro and Pres The Belle will butt heads with the fit, in-form CK Spur, who could make a serious move should he down his more vaunted opponents.  The Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup will be a key stepping stone for many Dominion aspirants at Motukarara on Sunday and several lower-ranked or fringe dwellers will ply their trade in the faster-calls trot at Addington on Friday night. We are anticipating seeing some Australian contenders step out this week, with many Cup contenders looking to build towards the Victoria Cup on October 12 as the ultimate litmus test before a trip to New Zealand in November. View the full rankings here Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Late-blooming Aussie trotter Tough Monarch is bound for New Zealand. Delighted trainer Rickie Alchin said he had weighed everything up after the eight-year-old’s sparkling Melton win last Saturday night. “I’ve had Cup Week over there in the back of my mind for a while, but I used those 10 days and two good races down in Melbourne as a real test for him,” he said. “He won them both so well, so he sort of made the decision for me. “The Dominion will be his main target, but he’ll run in that good trot on NZ Cup Day as well. And what about the Auckland Inter Dominion? “That’s an option, but it’s run the in the other direction so I need to test him out. I’ll speak to Menangle about organizing a trial the Auckland way of going to help me make that decision,” Alchin said. Tough Monarch has always promised to make a top flight trotter, but needed time. “We’ve needed to be patient” Alchin said. “Last campaign was the first one he’s got all the way through with some issues. He went out for a spell feeling great. “He went really well for us during that Melbourne Inter Dominion, but I think I got more out of it than the horse did. He was out on his feet by the final, I think I needed to be easier on him between runs. “But he’s come back and gone to that next level this campaign. “I might never get another opportunity with a horse as good as him to go to NZ, so I really should take it now.” Alchin’s challenge now is mapping out the path towards Addington. “There’s not a lot of races because I’ll keep him here (Sydney) and won’t go back to Melbourne before NZ,” he said. “He may just have the one run, but he’ll have a few trials as well.  “I just need to be able to keep right where he’s at now and I’m sure he’ll be very competitive over there.”   Adam Hamilton

THIS is a big week for top Aussie trainer Andy Gath. Not only does his stable star Tornado Valley step-out at Melton, but McLovin starts to get serious in his preparation for an NZ raid later this year. McLovin graduates from jogging to fast work, but it still “about six weeks away” from a racetrack return. “He seems well and it’s time to get a bit more serious,” Gath said. “His whole preparation has been based around being spot-on for a crack at the Dominion. Then, if he’s going well, a trip up to Auckland for the Inter Dominion after that.” McLovin hasn’t raced since winning at Melton on July 5. It took his record with Gath to nine wins and four placings from just 14 starts. Gath genuinely thinks there is very little between McLovin and reigning Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley, hence the strategic timing of their racing in the back half of this year. “You want to keep them apart as much as possible and we’ve got the chance to do that with McLovin being the better suited of the two to those races in NZ,” he said. “Aside from the travel issues with Tornado Valley, I think McLovin is a better stayer and the NZ races are more to his strength.” Tornado Valley, an impressive winner of both runs this campaign, returns from an unintended freshen-up in the Group 3 Maori’s Idol free-for-all at Melton on Saturday night. “There just hasn’t been a race for him with the focus being on Breeders Crown over here for the past month or so,” Gath said. “This is a good race for him on paper, but it won’t be easy drawn the outside (gate seven) against some nice trotters and with plenty of early speed draw inside him. Save Our Pennys (gate three) is quick out, so is Big Jack Hammer (six). “He’ll just go through the free-for-alls here until the first of the features, the Bill Collins Mile, in late October.”   Adam Hamilton

Ashburton Trotting Club - Thursday 15 November A 12 race card, kicking off at 12.09pm.    Alexandra Park - Friday 16 November Christmas At The Races popular as ever Alexandra Park’s eight Christmas At The Races hospitality evenings set down for November and December are selling fast but there’s still time. “Our three November evenings are probably where we’ve got the best availability. However individuals, businesses and organisations need to book now to avoid disappointment,” says Roxanne Visser, Sales & Events Coordinator at Alexandra Park. The 2018 Christmas At The Races evenings will take place on Fridays 16, 23 and 30 November and 7, 14, and 21 December as well as Saturday 8 and 15 December. The incredibly popular nights are promoted as the perfect work Christmas party with a gourmet buffet, stunning décor, and great entertainment including a visit from Santa himself!. Holly packages remain available from $70 per person, as do the delightful Mistletoe packages at $115 with the option of track-view dining outside on the Epsom Balconies. Also, still available are the premium Pohutukawa packages in the Tasman Room from $140 which include a premium drinks package. However, Pohutukawa packages in Alexandra Park’s level five Top of the Park venue, priced from $165, are now limited but with some availability still on 16 November and 21 December. Ms Visser says regardless of the hospitality package, everyone gets to enjoy a sumptuous all-you-can-eat Christmas-style buffet. She says Alexandra Park’s exclusive President’s Suite can also be hired for private parties, with availability remaining on both 16 and 30 November as well as 21 December. Alexandra Park is renowned for delivering delicious dining packages and exciting harness racing under lights. Then after the last race, everyone gets together at The Alex Bar & Eatery to enjoy live entertainment. For further information on Christmas At The Races or to reserve your table please call (09) 631-1165, email or visit ATC 2019 Syndicate: Over the last two decades, the Auckland Trotting Club has formed 17 syndicates, each comprising either 40 or 50 shares and racing between 2 and 4 horses. To date, all 17 syndicates have proved, or are proving, very successful: At this year’s Australasian Classic Yearling Sale or the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, the Auckland Trotting Club 2019 Syndicate’s yearlings were selected by the top trainers Robert Dunn, Brent Mangos and Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson: Name: Alta Redeemer Trainer: Robert Dunn Name: Christianshavtime Trainer: Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson Name: Bet West Trainer: Brent Mangos When you join an ATC Syndicate, not only do you get to enjoy the thrill of owning and racing harness racehorses, but you can also be very involved in Harness Racing generally, initially at Alexandra Park and the wider Auckland/Waikato area and then quite possibly venturing further afield in New Zealand and Australia, as some previous ATC Syndicates have. There are many advantages involved with being part of one of the Auckland Trotting Club Syndicates. These include; the comparatively low costs, the opportunity to share in the ownership of well bred horses trained by some of the best trainers in New Zealand, making new friendships with like-minded people, having total involvement in the Harness Racing industry and having the opportunity to participate in social events and possibly travel throughout the year. Every month, syndicate members receive a detailed newsletter documenting each horse’s progress, member news, and other information. Regular updates are placed on a phone-in message service, which can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in New Zealand free of charge. We have already had syndicate members from a wide geographical location around New Zealand, from Kaeo and Kaitaia in the North, to Dunedin and Invercargill in the South, as well as from the USA, Canada, England, Japan, Australia (Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia) and even Iceland. Each year of establishing a new Syndicate, the Auckland Trotting Club has implemented their hugely successful formula of buying three richly bred yearlings at the Yearling Sales, with these horses being selected by and trained by some of New Zealand’s leading trainers. For further information please contact or go to Andrew Jamieson – ATC Syndication Manager Mob: + 64 21 253 8765 Email: If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us via email on or give us a call on 09 631 1165   Wyndham HRC - Sunday 18 November  SUPERB DAY OF RACING AT WYNDHAM   The southern harness racing is on the picturesque surrounds of Young Quinn Raceway in Wyndham this Sunday (18 November) when a ten race card starting at 12noon will see feature events - the Kubala Seeds Stella Frost Stakes Ladyship Final, the Southern Standardbred Breeders Assn Southern Belle Speed Series Heat and the Hunter Family Handicap Pace fought out. Admission to the course is free.   Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc Update Fantastic news Harness racing enthusiasts and participants. The Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club can confirm that our 2019 Racing License has been recently granted by the NZ Racing Board for Friday 1st February and Sunday 3rd February to be held on the MAIN OUTSIDE TRACK of the Otaki Maori Race Course, Otaki. This is North Island GRASS TRACK harness racing at its very best. A successful galloping race meeting was held last Thursday on the Otaki Maori Race course and the track came through with ‘flying colours’ , after extensive drainage work and grass reseeding of the surface. By February 2019 we expect the grass track to offer a near “perfect” racing surface for all HARNESS participants.   The Club anticipates that stakes will be on a par with our 2018 meeting, being $9,000 per race , with the Wellington Trotting Cup run on the Friday with a stake of $12,000 and the Otaki Cup run on the Sunday for $12,000.[ These stakes were the highest of any North Island Grass track harness meeting in 2018]. There will be 10 races programmed each day.   The usual Kapiti hospitality will be on offer for all industry participants and owners. We welcome you all with open arms on the Kapiti Coast at Otaki Racecourse in early February 2019. Chris Craddock Vice President Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc. 027 410 2420         Southern Harness News  A TON OF FEED TO BE WON Thanks to McMillan Equine Feeds, there is a ton of feed to be won during the 2018/2019 Southern Harness Racing season. At every Sunday race meeting during the season the trainer of every race winner will win a free bag of McMillan Equine Feeds. At the conclusion of the Wyndham Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday 18 November all trainers who have won a race on a Sunday up until that time will get one entry into a draw for 20 bags of McMillan Equine Feeds. The competition then starts afresh with the trainer of each Sunday race winner for the remainder of the season getting one entry into a new draw for 20 bags of McMillan Equine Feeds to be held after the Invercargill Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday 3 March. That is one ton of McMillan Equine Feeds up for grabs! Southern Harness Racing thanks McMillan Equine Feeds for their generous support. QUALIFYING DATES: Sunday 21 October Tuapeka HRC – Forbury Park, Dunedin Sunday 28 October Invercargill HRC – Invercargill Sunday 4 November Riverton TC – Invercargill Sunday 11 November Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 18 November Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 16 December Winton HRC - Winton Sunday 6 January Wyndham HRC - Cromwell Sunday 3 February Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 17 February Winton HRC - Winton Sunday 3 March Invercargill HRC - Invercargill    HRNZ Marketing

This week’s rankings have again seen mainly minor changes. The Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup ranking changes surround Dream About Me, following her narrow win in the Hannon Memorial on Sunday. She moved to fifth.  A G’s White Socks and Captain Dolmio both improve a spot for their respective placings in the race. The other changes are at the bottom of the rankings. Bettermatch hopped James Dean following a slick lower-grade win last Tuesday at Menangle. Zadaka’s superior performance in the Hannon saw him swap places with Don Domingo. While Bailey’s Knight, who claimed an overdue win at Addington last Thursday has moved a place off the bottom of the rankings. Potentially the biggest shake up in the ‘Cup’ rankings will come if the connections of Queensland pacer Alleluia confirm their late payment by 3.00pm this afternoon. The winner of 33 races is poised to sit on the fringe of a Cup start following several recent local wins and a third in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake FFA in July. Within the Used To Me @ Haras des Trotteurs Dominion realm Kyvalley Blur racked up win 28 at Melton on Saturday and moved into seventh. Alderbeck’s strong third off 40 metres at Oamaru saw her nudged ahead of Harriet Of Mot to 17th. In the same race Hey Yo was solid in second place. Her placing moved her two spots closer to a Dominion start at 21st. The winner of the main trot at Oamaru, Muscle’s Galore, made another leap in the rankings, this time to 34th. Mr Good And Evil almost avenged his mistake when leading in his previous Auckland start with a second to Heard The Whisper. With that he improved his ranking to 45th.     For the full list of rankings click here!   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Southland based driver Sheree Tomlinson became the first female driver to win the time honoured Dominion Handicap at Addington yesterday (Friday). The nineteen year old is the youngest driver to the win the race and just the second junior driver to win the Group One feature; the first being Anthony Butt who won it in 1987, driving Simon Katz. "It was so special and very emotional. As soon as they crossed the line I was pretty much in tears," she said yesterday after Amaretto Sun which is trained by her Grandfather Ken Ford won at odds of 91 to 1. Things looked promising at the start when she timed her walk up to the tape perfectly and began well to lead early, before The Foot Tapper then Great Things Happen took over leaving Amaretto Sun three back on the running line. "He just stepped so good. That's probably the best he's ever stepped in his whole career. I couldn't hand up to The Foot Tapper straight away because you have to let my horse run for that first 400 metres because he can buck. You just have to loose rein him for the first bit. I knew when The Foot Tapper got to the front he'd only hand to the best horse in the race. I saw Gavin (Gavin Smith on favourite Great Things Happen)coming and I knew he'd stay there." That's the way it remained until the field straightened for the run home at the end of the 3200 metre feature. "I had to tell myself heading up the home straight not to pull out and hope that I'd get a run inside the passing lane. It opened up, he got the run then he showed some high speed. Turning for home Dexter had Bordeaux on the bit with the plug out and he was travelling but he was tapping him up a bit. I thought that's alright. Then I thought Gavin would have put a few lengths on us but he was only half travelling. I thought if I get a run I should go close but I definitely wasn't expecting to win it."   I was in the last 50 metres that the inside run presented itself and the Sundon six year old let down nicely to beat The Foot Tapper by a length and a quarter. The win was celebrated by Tomlinson with a flourish of the whip. "There were so many things going through my head. I couldn't believe it. He's been so up and down in the last twelve months. He went super in the Ordeal Cup, he then had a couple of issues and we had to get the chiropractor to him." Although not overly confident about her chances in the Dominion there were signs that the horse was well pre-race.  "I couldn't even walk him around before the race he was that keen and full of himself. He tried to boot me out of the cart five or six times in the warm up. I think it's a habit he's got into. Once he's going and focussed on the job he's a beautiful horse to drive."  The last Southland based driver to win the Dominion was Nathan Williamson when he drove Springbank Richard to win in 2009. Before that you have to go back to Henry Skinner who drove Tobago to win in 1989.  "To us as a family the Dominion is like winning the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Grandad only really trains trotters."   Amaretto Sun has only ever been driven in his thirty six starts be either Sheree or her mother Amanda. Amanda drove him to win at his first start at Banks Peninsula in September 2015. The mother and daughter have each driven the gelding five times to win. Tomlinson, who works for Invercargill trainer Murray Brown, currently sits second behind Matt Anderson in the Junior Drivers Premiership and has been racking up the travel miles this season, venturing to Canterbury most weekends.   "Murray has been very good to me. I come up most weeks to Addington to drive on Friday night. If it wasn't for my Mum and Dad and Nana and Grandad helping me I wouldn't be able to do it. I really do appreciate it."  Tomlinson says the Green Mile at Methven on December 3rd is the horse's next target before he heads to Auckland with the main target The Rowe Cup. "I'm heading over for the Australiasian Drivers Championship in December and I think one of his races is when I'm over in Aussie. I'll have to sweet talk Grandad and miss that one. Mum may have to put on the colours and drive him." Sheree Tomlinson has driven forty six winners in the three seasons she's been driving. Her first winner was Little Mo at Oamaru in January 2016.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

In Christchurch.--- It has all the ingredients of a racing fairytale --- a young girl and the horse she loves triumphing against all odds on the biggest stage. And the joy 19-year-old Sheree Tomlinson felt as she won her family’s version of the New Zealand Cup, the $300,000 Dominion at Addington, yesterday was impossible to not to love. Tomlinson never went around a horse on 90-1 chance Amaretto Son, trained by her grandfather Ken Ford, sneaking up the passing lane to become the first female to win our greatest trot race. And all this on a horse who first brought Tomlinson to the attention of the punting public but a horse who needed an operation this time last year to keep racing. But there is only one problem with this girl loves life-changing horse storyline. “He is actually a bugger,” laughs Tomlinson. “He tries to kick me out of the cart every time I drive him. Not just race day, every time. “That is just him. So we have had our moments along the way. He is not easy.” So while he may not be the textbook equine hero, Amaretto Son gave the Tomlinson and Ford family their proudest moment in racing. They are trotting people through and through, breeding horse of that that gait as opposed to pacers and therefore they don’t dream of New Zealand Cups, they dream of the Dominion. “That is why I am so emotional, I can’t believe we, not me but the whole family, have won the race we want the most,” says Sheree. “Especially with this fella because he had those bone chip issues last season and he hasn’t been an easy horse for us.”Tomlinson may be a teenager with an infectious smile but she is no newcomer to the sulky, having been brought up through harness racing’s hugely successful Kidz Kartz programme. “That was a great way to get into racing and get out there on the track before I was allowed to drive properly but I can’t believe something like this has come so early in my career. “I am absolutely buzzing. It is all a bit of a blur.” Amaretto Son will now travel north for the plethora of major trots over the summer at a time when the open class ranks, shorn of Monbet, have a very open feel to them. That wasn’t supposed to be how yesterday’s Dominion turned out as Great Things Happen was a $1.50 favourite and when he jogged to the front in the early stages he should have been too good. But he was beaten at the 300m, leaving trainer-driver Gavin Smith wondering whether his stable star had suffered from a tying up problem as he took an age to recover after the race. While Amaretto Son was a crushing blow for punters in yesterday’s great trot, Ultimate Machete was simply crushing in the A$260,000 Woodlands Pacing Free-For-All. The four-year-old showed the benefit of coming in fresh after missing Cup day to sit parked outside Tiger Tara and Jack’s Legend, smashing the national all comers 1950m mobile record in the process. He will head off to Perth this week to join stablemate Lazarus at the Perth Inter Dominion series but Ultimate Machete will be aimed at the four-year-old support races worth a total of A$375,000 over the next three Fridays. By Michael Guerin

It was an upset of gigantic proportions. But it was also history in the making. Talented trotter Amaretto Sun and harness racing teenage driver Sheree Tomlinson proved victorious in today’s (Friday) Gr.1 $300,000 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap at Addington in Christchurch. Prepared by respected horseman Ken Ford, Amaretto Sun was friendless in the betting and saluted at odds of $91.20 while defeating The Foot Tapper and Monty Python in the 3200m stand-start classic, the biggest trotting event staged in New Zealand and first staged in 1911. Tomlinson, 19, becomes the first female driver to win the time-honoured trotting feature and showed patience beyond her youthful years when guiding the Sundon gelding to victory. The pre-race hype focused on Tuesday’s Trotting Free-For-All winner Great Things Happen with many expecting the giant trotter to repeat his crushing victory while the flashy Bordeaux was tipped to be his biggest challenger. When the strands released, Amaretto Sun pounced on the early lead before releasing The Foot Tapper while Great Things Happen quickly moved forward and tackled for the lead role. With Great Things Happen controlling the speed, there were little or no moves within the first mile of the event which had punters on good terms with themselves. The lead time was covered in 2:06.8. The first move in the race came via Bordeaux who moved three-wide with 1300m to run while Daryl Boko and Dark Horse joined the developing cover. But Great Things Happen continued to cruise in the leading role and posted sectionals of 29.1 and 29.5 seconds for the first half of the final mile. Approaching the home turn, Great Things Happen found little when challenged quickly by Bordeaux while The Foot Tapper and Amaretto Sun went to the passing lane with Monty Python and Harriet Of Mot both starting to charge deeper off the track. At the 100m mark, it was Amaretto Sun who struck the lead while The Foot Tapper, Bordeaux and Monty Python battled hard. Harriet Of Mot, who almost fell soon after the start, made a break in the final stages and cost itself a certain placing. At the finish, it was Amaretto Sun who sprinted best to score by over a length from The Foot Tapper with another half-length back to Monty Python in third while Bordeaux finished a close-up fourth. The final half was covered in splits of 29.4 and 29.7 seconds. The gross time was 4:04.7 – the mile rate was 2:03.0. It was well outside of the race record set twelve months earlier when Monbet trotted 4:00.7. Race favourite Great Things Happen weakened to finish 11th. "He felt good in the running and has so much speed. It felt amazing," Tomlinson said. “It’s very special for the family.” She added. Tomlinson is the granddaughter of Ford and the family has enjoyed tremendous success in recent times with outstanding trotter Marcoola. The shock result provided Tomlinson with her maiden Group One triumph and it’s a victory she will never forget. Amaretto Sun's sire Sundon won the Dominion in 1990. The next leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters takes place at TABCORP Park, Melton on January 27 with the running of the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star. Chris Barsby

Jack's Legend gets the perfect chance to replicate the richest win of his career on an even bigger stage at Addington Raceway in Christchurch today. A driving masterclass from Zachary Butcher helped Jack's Legend cause a huge upset at the Harness Jewels in June when he blasted across to a shock early lead before trailing Ultimate Machete and waiting until late in the straight to surge past him via the passing lane. He meets Ultimate Machete again in the $260,000 NZ Free-For-All today but if Butcher wants to try those lead-then-trail tactics again he will probably end up following a different rival, Australian visitor Tiger Tara. The pair chased home Lazarus, who is absent today as he travels to the Perth Inter Dominions, in the New Zealand Cup on Tuesday and while Jack's Legend was impressive in second, Tiger Tara was the run of the race outside Lazarus. He was parked for much of the race before galloping and losing four lengths at the 800m mark when he jumped a mark left on the track by the Seal The Deal/Dream About Me meelee at the start of the race. Tiger Tara has developed high gate speed since being sold to Australia and driver Todd McCarthy says he will be using it today. "He gets off the gate well and loves to lead and run along so that will be the plan," he says. "And I think most of the other drivers would be keen to follow him because he will give whoever is in the trail their chance," says McCarthy. "I was thrilled with him in the Cup and he has come through it really well." For all the talent of Ultimate Machete and Dream About Me, if Tiger Tara leads with Jack's Legend trailing they have a huge advantage. The question of the $260,000 may be whether Jack's Legend has enough change up speed to slingshot Tiger Tara. Ultimate Machete can win but will have to do it the hard way while Dream About Me's nightmare week continues with her wide draw. The draws have been kind to Great Things Happen, though, in the $300,000 Dominion Trot as he secured the front line while key rival Bordeaux will have to start from the second line. There is little between the pair on raw ability but Bordeaux is at his most potent when able to lead and roll even sectionals, which now looks unlikely. Great Things Happen was awesome winning the Trot Free-For-All on Tuesday. Trainer-driver Gavin Smith says he has pulled up perfectly. "I got a blood [sample] done and it is even better than it was going into Tuesday," says Smith. "I have been thinking for a while it is a race in two between us and Bordeaux so to draw in front of him is a big advantage and I'll be keen to get to the front." Smith says punters concerned about Great Things Happen returning to standing start after the hustle and bustle of two recent mobile starts need not worry. "I can't remember the last time he galloped away. "In fact, I'd love the start to be a long one with some waiting around because he will just relax and then perk up when I ask him to go," says Smith. If Smith is right and Great Things Happen is able to lead, it is hard to see him getting beaten. Michael Guerin  

If harness racing trainer Gavin Smith is looking for inspiration, he doesn’t have to look far.  Fresh from his success earlier this week (Tuesday) with his maiden Group One victory as a trainer with giant trotter Great Things Happen in the $100,000 NZ Trotting FFA at Addington, they will combine again tomorrow (Friday) in the $300,000 Dominion Handicap. The Dominion is the biggest trotting event staged in New Zealand, a time honoured feature staged over the marathon distance of 3200m and from the stand-start. It’s the trotting version of the New Zealand Cup. And it kicks off the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, a five leg series that takes in features spread between New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia. Many great names feature in the honour roll of the Dominion which was first staged back in 1911 while many have achieved the Cup week double including Monbet last year. A total of 17 trotters have achieved the Cup week double - names include Durban Chief, Tutira, Easton Light, Scotch Tar, Admiral Soanai, Simon Katz, Tobago, William Dee, Call Me Now, Chiola Cola, Take A Moment x 2, Lyell Creek, Stig, Vulcan and I Can Doosit. So, Smith and Great Things Happen aren’t looking to rewrite the record books, more simply just chasing their own slice of Christchurch history and add their names to the exclusive list. Great Things Happen was brilliant winning on Tuesday, winning by a widening margin while equaling the New Zealand record of Monbet. And while he looked very comfortable from the mobile over the short course of 1950m, the extra distance of the Dominion looks even more appealing for the six-year-old Love You gelding. Great Things Happen will sport saddlecloth number six. Flashy trotter Bordeaux looms as a major threat but his chances were hampered after landing a second-line draw (13). The Philip Iggo trained gelding is unbeaten this campaign and again will be handled by star reinsman Dexter Dunn, a rare feature he is yet to win to date during his glittering career. Brothers Tim and Anthony Butt have enjoyed tremendous success in the Dominion; Tim has trained the winner 8 times (Vulcan, Mountbatten, Lyell Creek x 3, Take A Moment x 3) while Anthony has driven the winner 9 times (Simon Katz the extra to Tim’s list). This year they combine with former European trotter Daryl Boko, lining up in his third Dominion and still looking for his maiden success in the great race. Master horseman Paul Nairn is no stranger to success in the Dominion; the unorthodox trainer is a dual winner after scoring with Call Me Now (1995) and Stig (2008). He will be represented by a trio of starters this year including Wilma’s Mate, The Foot Tapper and One Over Da Moon. The Williamson family also boast Dominion success owing to the 2009 triumph of Springbank Richard and this year they will have Monty Python (Phil & Matthew) and Dark Horse (Nathan) lining up in the feature. Another duo chasing further Dominion glory is Ricky May and Kevin Townley, they will combine with talented mare Destiny Jones. May has won the Dominion three times previously including last year with Monbet while Stylish Monarch (2010) and Cedar Fella (1998) were his other winners while Townley scored with Armbro Lady back in 1976. No female driver has won the Dominion; Sheree Tomlinson (Amaretto Sun) and Sam Ottley (Arya) can claim history with their respective drives this year. Female representation of the four legged variety includes Wilma's Mate, Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Destiny Jones, Arya and Dark Horse. The last mare to win the Dominion was Martina H who deadheated with Take A Moment back in 2002. Connections of Harriet Of Mot, Hey Yo, Doctor Bones and Belles Son are all chasing their slice of Dominion history when they line up in the south island feature. The Haras des Trotteurs Dominion is scheduled to start at 4.33pm local time. Chris Barsby

Only minor changes following last week's racing within the rankings. Following his win at Alexandra Park last Friday Maxim swaps places with Buster Brady in what is merely an academic change for the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup rankings. In the Haras des Trotteurs Dominion rankings, again, just the one change with Monty Python supplanting Harriet Of Mot in 10th place. Poppymalda's recent withdrawal now takes those still in the hunt for the Dominion down to 23. The final field for the Trotting Cup is now solely dependent on withdrawals, however there is one more chapter to play out in the Dominion rankings, with those placing in the first three in next Tuesday's NZ Trotting FFA guaranteed there place in the $300,000 Group 1. For full ranking details click here! Courtney Clarke Marketing and Communications Executive | Harness Racing New Zealand 

Top trotting mare Habibti Ivy is in a race against time to be ready for next week’s Dominion. The Rowe Cup runner-up has been struggling in her work since her booming second to Great Things Happen in the Flying Mile at Ashburton last start and trainer Paul Nairn admits he is concerned.  I haven’t been able to get the work into her I would like,” said Nairn. “So she is no certainty to make it to Cup week but I will know more in the next few days.” Nairn says Habibti Ivy has a type of bruising on one of her heels and while she may be right by next week he is worried about the work she has potentially missed heading into a hard 3200m of the Dominion on November 17.  “Its called a sheared heel and it is bothering her in her frog as well.” If Habibti Ivy doesn’t make it to the race Nairn could still have both The Foot Tapper and Wilma’s Mate in the Dominion but the exciting Ronald J definitely won’t be starting after a late gallop cost him near certain victory at Addington last Friday  “He is being aimed at the Free-For-All on Cup day instead.” Michael Guerin

Just the one Rankings change in the Christchurch Casino NZ Cup Rankings, with Piccadilly Princess moving up one spot following her fourth in the Flying Stakes on Monday. In the Haras des Trotteurs section there were two changes. Great Things Happen is now third following his dashing win in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile on Monday and Dark Horse, who ran a track record off 60m at Forbury on Sunday improved two places from 15th to 13th. There are now 24 trotters vying for a spot in the Dominion on Show Day. There are now just 14 left in Cup contention, following the withdrawals of Classie Brigade, Ears Burning and Cash N Flow in recent days. For full details of the latest rankings, click here!   Courtney Clarke Marketing and Communications Executive | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

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