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The week that was saw little movement within the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and Haras des Trotteurs Dominion rankings; however harness racing withdrawals have changed the landscape of both races somewhat. In the ‘Cup’, just yesterday, Didjamakem Bolt withdrew - succumbing to injury yet again, while Alleluia pulled out last week. On the track, the key race was the Methven Cup. Smolda was a very impressive winner but he stays put at #5. The movement came from the second placed Seel The Deal and third placed Titan Banner. Seel The Deal has jumped to ninth, while Titan Banner stepped over Mighty Flying Mac to maintain 10th. There was even less to sort out among the trotters. Solid performances put in by Harrysul and Waterloo Sunset at Addington saw them both improve a place each to eighth and 19th respectively. The real movement in the race came from the bevy of withdrawals last week. Trotters to withdraw were: Keystone Del, Vincennes, Overanova, Scarrymcleary, King Denny, Golden Gate, Arya, Springbank Eden, Arran Chief and My Tribeca. All eyes from a feature-race perspective now point to Ashburton on Monday. The traditional Cup build-up-defining Ashburton Flying Stakes has attracted a very classy group of nominators, while a near capacity field can be expected to take on a resuming Monbet in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile. The second-to-last set of Rankings will be revealed next Tuesday.  Click below for the full rankings: New Zealand Cup & Dominion Rankings - October 18 Stacey Markham  

A little movement and some key withdrawals punctuate this week's harness racing 'Road to the Cup' update. Last week's feature race was the Canterbury Classic which was taken out so impressively by Lazarus, with Christen Me and Smolda filling the placings. As a result all three moved up the Rankings, securing automatic entry, per the New Zealand Cup conditions. The three now fill Cup spots three, four and five. The major fallout from the race was Locharburn. His poor showing, which later revealed he suffered a heart arrhythmia, prompted owner/trainer Kevin Chapman to take no chances and withdraw the multiple Group 1 winner from the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup. Another withdrawal from 'the Cup' was Southland's leading pacer Costa Del Magnifico. He hasn't recovered from his setback following the Hannon Memorial and his trainer Brent Shirley is taking no chances either. Action has kept flowing in the Haras des Trotteurs Dominion build-up however, with Sunny Ruby overpowering her rivals in a keenly contested Canterbury Park Trotting Cup last Friday. Her win gave her automatic qualification so she now sits third in the Rankings. Kyvalley Blur's comfortable win at Alexandra Park last Friday saw him edge up one spot, while Daryl Boko's improving fourth behind Sunny Ruby earnt him a bump up also. He now sits 13th. This week sees a variety races for Cup and Dominion contenders. Races of interest are spread across three of the domestic meetings - at Alexandra Park and Addington on Friday, Methven on Sunday. The next Rankings update will be Tuesday 18 October. Click below to view the full list of rankings: NZ Cup & Dominion Rankings Update - October 12 If you have any queries please feel free to contact myself or the Racing Department on 03 964 1200. Stacey Markham

It’s been two weeks since the last Rankings update and as a result there have been some changes. Within the Christchurch Casino NZ Cup Rankings Franco Nelson has moved to number three following his Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup win last week and its automatic qualifying status. The runners-up Christen Me and Lazarus both improved their positions also, as did Messini who bounced back to form impressively with a win a week prior at Melton. The only other changes within the ‘Cup’ Rankings have been the defections of Philadelphia Man, Hug The Wind and Franco Ledger. There has been more activity within the Haras des Trotteurs Dominion rankings. Recent winners Bordeaux, Realmein and Kyvalley Blur have all enjoyed elevations, while Monty Python’s solid third behind Bordeaux sees him sneak ever closer to the field proper at #22. Withdrawals have overshadowed the on-track performances somewhat however. Established Group 1 stars Stent and Master Lavros pulling out has been a blow to the race. They have been joined as withdrawals by Sun Of Anarchy, Cool Cobber and Tornado Valley. Locally, the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup this Sunday is a prime opportunity for some to book their spot in the richest trotting race of the season. The Spring Cup in Auckland is the other domestic feature. It gives sole North Island nomination No Doctor Needed the chance to advance his claims for a Cup start. At #15 he needs some solid performances, moving forward, to lock down his place in the Cup. From now until Cup Week the Rankings Committee will meet weekly on a Tuesday with updates to follow. For Rankings click below: 2016 New Zealand Trotting Cup Rankings - September 27 2016 Dominion Rankings - September 27   Stacey Markham HRNZ

Two important lead-ups to the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and Haras des Trotteurs Dominion were the main focus of this week’s latest Rankings. The Cup Rankings saw only a small amount of movement. Franco Nelson’s Hannon Memorial success pushed him up to seventh, while Cullect A Guinness (3rd) and Quick As A Trick (4th) snuck up the table to 16th and 17th respectively, following their strong showings in the race. The only other change within the rankings was the withdrawal of last week’s Addington mid-grade winner Idealindiamonds. Just two trotters enjoyed leaps in the Dominion Rankings. Amaretto Sun won his ‘golden ticket’ into the Dominion by virtue of his storming, front-running win in last Friday’s Ordeal Cup at Addington. The win gave him automatic entry into the Dominion and as a result jumped him to third in the rankings. With a gallant second to Amaretto Sun, Sheemon cemented himself in the top 15 by moving ahead of Valmagne. He stays at eighth however following the move of Amaretto Sun. Three further withdrawals were received by Addington officials; Belles Son, Pegasus Dream and Sunset Peak. That number may increase with the first sustaining payment due for both races at 3.00pm tomorrow (Wednesday). For the Cup Rankings as at September 13 click here For the Dominion Rankings as at September 13 click here HRNZ

The second round of Official Rankings has seen only minimal movement within both the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and Haras des Trotteurs Dominion. Within The Cup, Locharburn, for his automatic qualifying win in the Maurice Holmes Vase jumps to a mandatory No. 2. The only other change for The Cup saw Franco Nelson edge ahead of Philadelphia Man to No. 9. The Dominion rankings saw several small changes. Kyvalley Blur’s win at Melton last week moved him to 12th. (Our) Overanova broke a track record at Albion Park last week when winning so he moved up to one place 19th ahead of Australian counterpart Sun Of Anarchy. Realmein’s solid second behind One Over Da Moon earned him a jump of four spots to 30, while Tornado Valley pulled herself off the bottom of the rankings by virtue of a strong showing behind the inform Sunny Ruby on Friday night. To date there have been three defections from the two features. Itz Bettor To Win and Expresso Martini have come out of The Cup. Foray has been withdrawn from The Dominion. This week there are two key races in the ‘Road to The Cup’. Friday’s Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington provides a free ticket into the Dominion and on Sunday the time-honoured Hannon Memorial will be contested for the 79th time at Oamaru. Though not an automatic qualifying race, it provides some lower in the rankings with a potential springboard into the great race.   Click here for the New Zealand Trotting Cup Rankings Click here for the Dominion Rankings   HRNZ Media release    

Addington are excited to announce their new harness racing business partner - Haras des Trotteurs will have exclusive naming rights to the Group One Dominion Handicap Trot. Pat Driscoll, Principal of Haras des Trotteurs is thrilled to be starting a partnership with Addington. "Haras des Trotteurs is privileged to be associated with Addington by sponsorship of such a time honoured event as the Dominion Trot. We are delighted and privileged that in conjunction with this sponsorship we will also be associated with a number of other domestic trotting races which will be confirmed throughout the year. At Haras des Trotteurs we are committed to breeding world class trotters in New Zealand and Australia." Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 season will see a stake increase for the richest trotting race in New Zealand.  “The increase from $250,000 to $260,000 for this prestigious race is in recognition of its status as the premier race for trotters within New Zealand.” 2016 will see the continuation of the highly successful ranking system for the Dominion that was introduced last year for the first time to determine the field.  The Haras des Trotteurs Dominion Trot will be held on Show Day Friday, 11 November 2016. Keryn McElroy  

Two of the forgotten stars of New Zealand harness racing are slowly but surely building towards a comeback in the first half of next season. Open class trotting stars, Stent and Master Lavros have both had their seasons cut short by injury but are pleasing their respective trainers in their build up towards making it back to the track. Stent, who was found to be suffering from a hole in his suspensory, has done six weeks jogging at the stables of his trainers, Colin and Julie DeFilippi. “He’s coming along nicely,” Colin said. “We had him scanned and given the once over last week and the vet was very happy with him so at this stage it’s all systems go.” After an initial preparation which involved a lot of walking and swimming, Stent was sent to the Methven Equine Centre for three weeks. The business which specialises in massage, swimming and agistment is situated a few kilometres east of Methven. “It was purely just to give him a bit of a break and in a way that he didn’t have to put too much pressure on himself. “It worked really well, he came back in great nick.” DeFilippi said that it was a case of so far so good in terms of soundness for the $1 million earner, but there is no rush to get him back to the races. “He’s due to step up his work in the next month and then we will look at getting into some serious fast work if everything is still OK. “We won’t be pushing him though, he will tell us if and when he is ready.” DeFilippi and Stent’s owner Trevor Casey won’t make any plans for the gelding until they know they have a horse who is 100 per cent which means that Cup Week in November isn’t a lock in. “The Dominion would be nice, especially to take on Monbet. “He’s clearly the best now, but we aren’t that far behind when we are right so it would be a great clash.” On the other side of State Highway One, Mark Jones is all smiles at the progress of this season’s Dominion Handicap winner, Master Lavros. The big gelding did an extensive stint in the care of noted thoroughbred trainer, Brian Court after he suffered a hind suspensory injury late last year. “He seems really good, he’s been out on the beach with Regan (Regan Todd) for the best part of two months now. “He never really went to the paddock, Brian Court had him for quite a while and he just did fitness on the water walker and treadmill.” Like DeFilippi, Jones is in no rush to get back to the track. “It would be nice to be ready for Cup Week, but the horse deserves to find his own way there if that’s the case. “We certainly won’t be pushing him that’s for sure.” Master Lavros will be scanned next Monday to find out whether or not he is ready to take the next step up in his work. Matt Markham

The outstanding trotting race mare Kincaslough has had the plug pulled on her racing career after she pulled up a touch lame after Cup week. Co-trainer Aimee Edmonds was philosophical about the decision. " She was a touch lame after Cup week and we had her knees xrayed early last week." "The arthritis in her knees had got worse even though we had been treating her and the decision was made on Thursday last week to retire her." " She was too good to take any risks with," Aimee said. The daughter of Love You burst onto the national trotting scene early last season when she put a string of outstanding performances together, cumulating in her great run for third behind Jaccka Justy in the $255,000 Dominion Handicap. Troubled by those arthritic knees, Kincaslough has struggled to reproduce that sparkling form this spring and goes to the broodmare paddock the winner of ten races and over $133,000. Owned by Pat O'Driscoll of Yabby Dam Farms Ltd in Australia and Aimee Edmonds, Kincaslough is headed to Australia. " She is going to Pat's property at Ballarat and will be served once she has arrived." " The two stallions we are looking at are Ready Cash and Andover Hall and it just depends on sorting out the availability of the semen before a decision is made, Aimee said. While very disappointed to lose the services of the top line trotting mare on the track, Aimee says that is compensated by what is in store in the future. " Some of the progeny will make it back here for us to try so that will be very exciting when it happens," Aimee said. It is never easy to call time on a top race horse's career  but the owners here are to be applauded for putting Kincaslough's interests first and they should reap the rewards down the line with her progeny. Harnesslink Media

Leading up to the Dominion Handicap at Addington Raceway yesterday, most people thought Stent would continue his domination of the trotting scene in New Zealand. Stent had been in great form leading up to the Dominion Handicap yesterday but the one thing that raised the odd doubt in people's minds was the distance of yesterdays race- 3200 metres. If Stent looked to have one chink in his armour, it was his less than great record at the extreme distance. Stent had won the Rowe Cup at the distance but only after sitting on Master Lavros's back the whole journey and even then he just beat him by a nose. Master Lavros was an opponent again yesterday and while Stent isn't at his best at 3200 metres, Master Lavros has always excelled at the distance.  Master Lavros was away quickly for Mark Jones and grabbed the lead after 400 metres and kept up a steady tempo in the lead. Stent and Colin De Filippi after an early bobble had settled three back in the running line before looping the field to land outside Master Lavros's wheel at the 800 metres. Just when it looked like a match race between the two champions was on the cards, Master Lavros strode away for an emphatic victory with Mark Jones giving a great victory salute as he went over the finishing line. Alley Way and Matthew Williamson got home well for second in front of Sheemon who trailed the whole way while Stent only battled into fifth.  Mark Jones was very animated on his return to the winners circle "This is all down to Regan's hard work," Jones said of his Woodend Beach foreman Regan Todd. "There's a lot of satisfaction winning today after what we have been through with horse there is nothing better than getting back to the top of the pile" Jones said. "When you're in that position we were last season, you start to have doubts and you start to think you are lucky to have won what you have in the past." "I was starting to get to the point myself that Master Lavros might not win the Dominion again if he didn't win it this year as there are so many good young trotters coming through," Mark said. Jones was keen to get to the front early in the Dominion because he wanted to take bad luck out of play. "I just wanted to give him every chance and not have any excuses." "He goes good in front and we have come so far with this horse I wanted to give him every chance," Mark said. Regan Todd was just pleased it was over. "Its been a really long week leading up to today."  " A few people had doubts after Kaikoura but we always knew he needed that run," Todd said. The Rowe Cup is the main aim for Master Lavros for the rest of the season although a trip to Australia beforehand is still on the cards. Harnesslink Media

The  victory of Master Lavros turned back the clock. The giant gelding led throughout to claim his second Gr.1 $255,000 Hellers Dominion at Addington in Christchurch defeating Alley Way and Sheemon in the 3200m stand start harness racing feature. Master Lavros scored in this event two years ago. The winning drive from Mark Jones, a former world driving champion, was inch perfect as he dictated terms nicely in front while race favourite Stent sat midfield in the moving line after a tardy beginning. Jones was able to quicken and slacken the speed which made it awfully hard for his rivals to find their groove. It was a perfect reminder that Jones is a truly gifted reinsman, one of the very best in Australasia. And while Jones is listed officially as the trainer, the man that pours his heart and soul into the gifted trotter is Regan Todd. Operating two stables, Jones is based at Burnham while Todd operates the Woodend Beach stables, of which Master Lavros is based and trained. Since winning this event back in 2013, connections have been left frustrated and perplexed as the gelding struggled to regain that dominating form that catapulted him to early stardom. The expectation and pressure created cracks and last season proved disappointing with only two victories from 11 starts, many breaks were made in running. But the seven-year-old has returned in solid form this season and the reason is simple, he’s sound and trotting perfectly. Master Lavros rated 4:05.9 which equates to a milerate of 2:03.6 while he covered his final 800m in a slick 57.6 seconds. The time was slightly slower than what he recorded two years ago. Master Lavros is now a dual Dominion champion while he has also collected the North Island’s major trotting event, the Rowe Cup. His earnings have now surpassed $500,000. The Sundon – Lavra Noblesse gelding is raced by his breeder, Kypros Kotzikas. Race favourite Stent finished fifth and had his chance after his early miscue, the Dominion proving to be his ‘bogey’ race. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters will be staged on February 6, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at TABCORP Park, Melton. by Chris Barsby

Turning down a Group I start is not easy but Trevor Casey his hoping his sacrifice will pay off.  Bookmakers have Stent as short as $1.80 to win the $250,000 Group I Dominion Trot at Addington Raceway on Friday. Nine of the Dominion field went around in the Group I NZ free-for-all trot on Tuesday but Stent was left at home. Stent has 30 victories and multiple Group wins but a Dominion victory would rank up there with the best for Casey, who races the 7-year-old son of Dream Vacation. "It's like the New Zealand Cup for the trotters," Casey said. The champion trotter was third two years ago behind Master Lavros and ran home for a disappointing sixth last year but was later found to be struggling from asthma-like symptoms. Co-trainer Colin DeFilippi is happy with how Stent has progressed since his last start at Kaikoura and says he is in perfect fettle to try to win his first Dominion at his third attempt. But Casey is not getting carried away despite Stent's heavy favouritism. "They don't come easy, they never do, even though we are in a favourable position you've still got to go out there and do it." Casey is sure Stent wold have backed up but said he wanted to do the best thing by his horse and give him the best chance in the Dominion. "We went to Kaikoura because we were a run short but he ran a national record time so we thought it would be best to go in fresh rather than race on Tuesday." Stent went under Sheemon's national record of 3-00.6 set at Kaikoura 12 months earlier by 0.4 sec. Mark Jones is predicting Master Lavros, second favourite at $6, will be improved on his fourth in Kaikoura. "He needed that run up there, he hadn't raced for three weeks," he said. Habibti was good when finishing third behind Monbet and Alley Way on Tuesday in the NZ free-for-all after sitting parked for the first half of the 1950m. "I was happy with her but I thought she probably should have run second," co-trainer David Butt said. "She just died in the last 60 or 70m so we have to just have to hope she improves with that run but it's hard to know." Butt, who trains in partnership with wife Catherine, said the former derby winner has bounced through the run. Habibti has not raced over two miles but his trainers are picking the distance will not be an issue. "I don' think it will worry her, she's always been a good little stayer,"  Butt said. Butt is hopeful rather than confident that Habibti can defeat the likes of Stent, Master Lavros, Sheemon and Alley Way. Last year's runner up, Sheemon, was disqualified on Tuesday but his run was much improved on recent outings and at his best will be a wining chance. Swedish trotter Daryl Boko broke rounding the final bend on his New Zealand debut and further improvement is expected on Friday. Greg and Nina Hope might not have their boom 4-year-old Monbet in the field but do have two runners in Quite A Moment and $81 outsider Harrysul. Quite A Moment is at $16 but has to be a strong place chance on her form since returning home from Australia. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

As we have done in the past, Harnesslink will do a runner by runner preview of the big race for the trotters, the Dominion Handicap. This years field is very strong with both Stent and Master Lavros in top nick at the moment and they are joined by several runners who with a run to suit can challenge the two favourites. Here is our runner by runner preview of the Dominion Handicap. 1) Springbank Sam  -  Starts: 69    Wins: 17    Secs: 8    Thirds: 8    Life: $291,718 Struggling to get back to his best and has shown little this time in. Does have good course and great distance stats at Addington but hard to see him playing a part here even with Phil Williamson in the camp. Not for us. 2) Valmagne - Starts: 84    Wins: 9    Secs: 13    Thirds: 12    Life: $101,254 Under rated trotter who has been placed in Group 1 races before. Last five starts have all had merit, especially his good fifth on Tuesday from a bad draw against most of those he faces here. Hard to see him winning this but a bolter for first fours at big odds 3) Quite A Moment  -  Starts: 77    Wins: 13    Secs: 18    Thirds: 18    Life: $245,415 Huge improver since reuniting with the Greg and Nina Hope barn.  Has run some great races this time in, mixing it with both Stent and Master Lavros. Her last run at Kaikoura was her best as it dispelled the myth that she was only a sit/sprint type when she ran a great third after doing a power of work. Ricky May is driving in great touch at the moment  which adds to her appeal. Looms as a danger to the two favourites and include in everything. 4) Sheemon - Starts: 61    Wins: 18    Secs: 17    Thirds: 10    Life: $494,926 Outstanding trotter who since Motukarara has had his share of issues and has raced well below his best up until his last run. His run in the FFA on Cup Day was super after he broke early from the mobile yet still flew late for a close up fourth before being disqualified. Much better from a stand and looks a possible early leader here and a definite danger to everybody if the real Sheemon turns up. Include in everything. 5) Alley Way  -  Starts: 49    Wins: 11    Secs: 12    Thirds: 4    Life: $118,805 Has taken a while this season to hit his straps but smart run on Tuesday to run second in the FFA shows he is peaking nicely at the right time. Was placed in last season's Rowe Cup behind Stent and Master Lavros so has the form on the board here to be a threat. May not be up to winning this but a must include for all combo takers. 6) Uncas  -  Starts: 70    Wins: 10    Secs: 8    Thirds: 6    Life: $107,552 The form line looks pretty uninspiring but it is his manners that are the issue. He is either being very slow away or breaking and at this level that can be terminal. Not for us. 7) Stent  -  Starts: 64    Wins: 30    Secs: 18    Thirds: 5    Life: $1,137,933 Champion trotter who will be favourite for this and deservedly so after another string of top runs this season. Distance brings him back to the field a wee bit but has the allround game to take this out. Won't want to get too far off the free going Master Lavros but Colin De Filippi rarely puts a foot wrong in the bike so it shouldn't be an issue The one to beat. 8) Harrysul  -  Starts: 21    Wins: 6    Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $39,969 Young trotter who has shown plenty at times but not that often at this level. Being pacing bred he does have a lot of speed but is not quite the finished product yet. In twelve months time we think he will be a contender but this has come a bit to soon for him. Not for us. 9) Master Lavros  -  Starts: 45    Wins: 18    Secs: 7    Thirds: 3    Life: $444,602 Forget his  Kaikoura run as he has always struggled there with the bends. His Addington record is fantastic and the 3200 metres is perfect for him. Doesn't have the tactical speed of Stent but can make his own luck and super tough. Draw is another plus and sets Master Lavros up as a big winning chance Include in everything. 10) Daryl Boko - Starts: 29    Wins: 9    Secs: 4    Thirds: 3    Life: $135,568 Swedish import who has taken some time to find his feet in New Zealand. Workout win at Ashburton in 3:05 for the 2400 metres was smart run and showed he wasn't far from his best. Showed real speed when looping field in his first New Zealand start on Cup Day before breaking. Distance and standing start suit Hard to see him winning at this stage but he does looks a first four player to us.                                                                 SECOND LINE 11) Jag's Invasion  -  Starts: 34    Wins: 9    Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $82,413 Has only three starts back after nearly a year out. Went nicely in his first start back but has under performed in his last two Much better from a stand than he is from a mobile so some chance of turning it around. Needs everything to go his way to be a first four player. 12) Habibti  -  Starts: 39    Wins: 15    Secs: 7    Thirds: 7    Life: $316,713 Champion mare who has built nicely for this in her four starts this season after nearly a year off. Likes to sit in and have one run at them and can be lethal if she gets that kind of run. Stand and distance won't worry and outstanding driver in the bike. Must include for all combo takers. 13) Prime Power  -  Starts: 38    Wins: 15    Secs: 6    Thirds: 6    Life: $227,052 Outstanding age group trotter who has had a few niggles in the last twelve months that have hampered his progress. No doubting the ability and looks to have come up a treat this time in. Trainer very happy with him and great from a stand which is a bonus. Another must include for combinations. 14) Kincaslough  -   Starts: 36    Wins: 10    Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $128,286 Very smart mare but not racing up to her own high standards at the moment. Third in this race last year but two or three lengths short of that form at the moment. The field is very strong this year and she needed to be right on her game to be a chance here. Rough first four chance at best.  15) One Over Da Moon  -  Starts: 46    Wins: 18    Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $261,785 Been in great form up north over the winter and carried that form down south with a great win at Ashburton on Labour Day. Didn't go that well at the Cup trials that followed Labour Day and followed that up with a below par run on Tuesday in the FFA where he finished fourth after having every possible chance. Dyed in the wool stayer so will appreciate the 3200 metres but may not be 100% just at present. Couple that with the draw and he is only a rough first four chance at best. SELECTIONS Stent is our first pick but only by the hair on his lip from Master Lavros. It wouldn't surprise us if the order was the other way round. To round out trifectas and first fours, we like Quite A Moment, Sheemon, Alley Way, Habibti and Prime Power. Harnesslink Media

Please find attached the final rankings for the 2015 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and the latest rankings for the 2015 Hellers Dominion Trot. Several withdrawals have been made from the Cup in the last week, with the most upsetting of them being Christen Me who was pulled out yesterday. Trainer Cran Dalgety says a number of small issues have contributed to the scratching. Other withdrawals include the other Cran Dalgety runner Bit Of A Legend, Ideal Success and Belkmyster. There were some small moves up the top of the board with the withdrawal of Christen Me and after some good placings in yesterday's Kaikoura Cup by Arden Rooney, Messini & Mighty Flying Mac. But more focus is around the horses sitting around the cut-off point. The biggest mover was Te Kawau who moved from 17th into 12th after finishing in fourth in yesterday's feature and Brilliant Strike also moved into the top fifteen after his fifth in the event. Provided there are no more withdrawals these 15 should make up the field in the 2015 event. The Dominion rankings saw little change after yesterday's Free-For-All at Kaikoura with just one mover in Quiet A Moment who finished 3rd in the feature pushing her up from 9th to 7th. There is still time for those ranked down the bottom of the list to try and make it into the field, but it will rely on strong runs in next Tuesdays New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All. If you require any further information on this, please do not hesitate to contact the Racing Department at HRNZ on 03) 964 1200 or Brian Rabbitt at Addington Raceway on 03) 338 9094. Click here for the final New Zealand Cup Rankings. Click here for the latest Dominion Rankings. Stacey Markham Marketing & Communications Manager | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc  

Messini's win in the Methven Cup last weekend meant he jumped into the top 15 rankings for the New Zealand Cup. His impressive win moved him from spot 18 to 13. The placings of Quick As A Trick and No Doctor Needed also resulted in moves with them now sitting on 19th and 18th respectively. Alleluia finished 4th behind Bling It On in the Group 1 Gold Coast Cup and that was enough to move to 14th position. Arden Rooney was also in winning form over the weekend and remains in 4th spot. One Over Da Moon continued his good form and remains at spot 7 in the Dominion Rankings after a comfortable win at Alexandra Park. Quite A Moment bounced into 9th whilst Valmagne continues to move up the rankings -13th following a credible 3rd at Addington. Overanova finds itself in exactly the same spot as Alleluia after a 4th in the Group 1 Trotters Championship at Albion Park Saturday night when starting from a 40m handicap. Another set of rankings for both races are due to be released next Wednesday afternoon following on from this weekend's features. If you require any further information on this, please do not hesitate to contact the Racing Department at HRNZ on 03) 964 1200 or Brian Rabbitt at Addington Raceway on 03) 338 9094. For New Zeaaland Cup rankings click here. For the Dominion rankings click here. Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc       ( 03 964 1212 Ext: 806 * PO Box 459, Christchurch 8140   7 03 964 1205 8 Web www.hrnz.co.nz               Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.      

A few withdrawals and some subtle rankings changes are starting to slowly clear the picture heading towards the springs features for our best harness racing pacers and trotters. In the last week the New Zealand Cup has lost Dalton Bromac, Jivin Cullen, Easy On The Eye and Franco Ledger. The Dominion has lost Kyvalley Blur, Used To Me, Royal Aspirations and Escapee. Within the rankings themselves last week's racing saw some make their way up the respective tables. The Canterbury Classic and its NZ Cup-start-guarantee means Christen Me, Tiger Tara and Smolda are now one, two, three. Mossdale Conner has jumped up to 10th following his fourth in the Canterbury Classic. For her solid 6th in the Classic, the strongest lead-up race so far, Delightful Dash improved her position to 27th from 33rd after a small jump and defections. In the Dominion rankings the improvers almost came from one stable only. The Greg and Nina Hope trio of Quite A Moment, Harrysul and Monbet all moved up in the rankings courtesy of their strong showings. They now sit 11th, 18th and 20th respectively. Al Bundy was rewarded with a small jump following his win in Auckland last week and Wingsonhai edged ahead of Prestine in what was essentially a match-race from last Friday night. The next edition of the rankings will be out around the same time next week. NZ Cup and Dominion Handicap rankings as at 14th October Click here for the Dominion Rankings Click here for the Cup Rankings Courtney Clarke  

Mark Jones is hardly screaming from the rooftops but he is starting to find some confidence in Master Lavros. The giant trotter stepped away from the tapes and went on to a one and three quarter lengths win in Friday's Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway with a display that puts him right in the Group I Dominion Handicap scrap. Sure there was no Stent, but Jones is starting to feel that the son of Sundon could be close to the sort of form that saw him win the Dominion in 2013. "He was feeling that good at the bend I probably could have gapped them by four or five lengths at the bend," Jones said. The improvement this week gave Jones plenty to smile about after he was run down late by Stent seven days earlier. Master Lavros strode home to win in 3:18.8 for the 2600m and Jones gave the impression there was plenty left in the tank had it been required. But the trainer-driver has plenty to think about in the coming days and weeks. The logical next step would be Ashburton for the Group III Trotters Flying Mile on Labour Day but with Master Lavros' manners from his two stands back being so good, Jones is thinking he may be better off to avoid the mobile start at Ashburton and head to Kaikoura. "I just don't know if the mobile will help us at the moment," Jones said. But if he does head to Kaikoura, he could potentially have to skip the Group I NZ Trotting free-for-all on Cup day. "I just think that could be a bit too much to do those three so close together," Jones said. Wherever Jones goes, he knows he is past the issues that plagued Master Lavros' season last year. Master Lavros trotted to the lead mid race and Jones had the field right where he wanted them and never gave up the lead. The Greg and Nina Hope pairing of Quite A Moment and Harrysul were much improved when running into second and third. Greg Hope was rapt with the effort of both trotters and said they would now likely head straight to Ashburton. Sheemon was disappointing in the final 300m to finish fourth after racing in the one-one and trainer Kevin Townley will have the classy trotter vetted to try and better understand the underwhelming performance. A fresh-up Alley Way was fifth in his first start for the Colin and Julie DeFilippi barn but was five lengths of Master Lavros. Colin DeFilippi said he expected a little better but was happy enough first up. He will line Alley Way up again at Addington next Friday. Habibti and Kincaslough blew their chance with mid race breaks. David Butt, who co-trains Habibti with wife Catherine, said it was disappointing but he confirmed he was also likely to head back to Addington next Friday night. The talented mare was super last week in her first race back in 11 months after a suspensory ligament injury and Butt is confident Friday night's break was just a small bump in the road. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here  

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