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Last week was a relatively quiet one for the New Zealand Cup and Dominion rankings. Just a few little moves this time will precede some potentially major changes following some big races this weekend in next week's edition of the harness racing rankings. In the NZ Cup movements this week the win of Ohoka Punter in the Spring Cup has seen him edge in front of fellow Aucklander Sky Major. Lancewood Lizzie, who was only narrowly beaten into second by Ohoka Punter sneaks up a spot to 11. Lewy Risk who won a lower-grade race at Addington last Friday jumped up one spot, ahead of Quick As A Trick who was one of the beaten brigade behind Lewy Risk. Two withdrawals came from the NZ Cup in the past week, both Jason Rulz and Mach Beauty won't be taking their part in the great race in 2015. In the Dominion rankings the only change saw Leanne's Boy move up three spots, from 30 to 27. The next rankings update will be released next Tuesday afternoon. 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 New Zealand Cup rankings Click here for the Dominion rankings Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc  

New harness racing season, same Stent. Colin DeFilippi and last season's trotter of the year, picked up where they left off with their usual military procession at Addington on Friday night. In his first race day start as he heads to the Group I Dominion Handicap, Stent was a convincing one and three quarter length winner over arch rival Master Lavros. For a $12,000 trot, the race carried plenty of interest with classy mares Habibti and Kincaslough also making their first starts for the season. Many of the top trotters will be back next Friday night for the Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup over 2600m. Stent looked to be carrying plenty of condition and DeFilippi believed he would strip fitter next week if he returns for the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. He worked Stent into a charmed one-one sit and when he asked him to go he sprinted past Master Lavros. DeFilippi, who trains in partnership with wife Julie, said he would need see what handicap Stent would start from before he committed to it. On the back of the win, TAB bookmakers moved Stent into Dominion Handicap at $3.40 from his $3.80 while Master Lavros holds firm at $3.60. Trainer-driver Mark Jones was not concerned with Master Lavros's effort first up and probably relieved he stepped away, albeit a little slowly. Jones said the giant 7-year-old son of Sundon would likely be back next week. Stent trotted the 2600m in 3-18.6 and ran home in 56.6 and 27.6. The Craig and Aimee Edmonds trained Kincaslough hit the line nicely from near the back. Aimee Edmonds confirmed she was happy with the Love You mare who would be back next Friday. David Butt gave comeback trotter Habibti his tick of approval in her first run back since suffering a suspensory ligament after her last race day start in October 2014. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here  

Below are the current New Zealand Cup and Dominion Handicap Rankings as of Tuesday, 15th September. The surprise win of Mighty Flying Mac in last Sunday's Hannon Memorial has seen the Cran Dalgety-trained gelding jump a near-record 15 spots in the rankings. Mighty Flying Mac now sits 16th, just outside the field proper. Other movers in the 'Cup' rankings included Mossdale Conner who popped ahead of stablemate Jason Rulz on the back of his solid Hannon third and the late-closing Bettor Dream has been rewarded for his fourth by jumping to 27th from 34th. There wasn't much change in the Dominion rankings. Quite A Moment impressed with her hard-finishing second in last week's Ordeal Cup and that has seen her ranking jump to 21. The evergreen Clover Don moved up a spot with his third in the same race. The next rankings release has been earmarked for Tuesday 29 September. New Zealand Cup Rankings The Dominion Handicap Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Below are the current Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and Hellers Dominion Rankings as at the 8th of September. In the Cup Rankings you will see moves from Jason Rulz, Choise Achiever and Provocative Prince. These moves are as a result of the Maurice Holmes Vase which was run last Friday night. In the Dominion Rankings,  Maori Time has moved up two spots after his Breeders Crown Graduate win and Monty Python has moved up three placings after running second to Sheemon last Friday. With the sad demise of Jaccka Justy, who was number one, all trotters move up one spot. The next set of rankings will be released following a committee meeting next Tuesday after the running of the Ordeal Cup at Addington on Friday September 11 and the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday September 13.  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 Zealand Cup Rankings click on this link For The Dominion Rankings click on this link. Communications and Marketing | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

THE Addington Harness Racing New Zealand Ranking Committee had a busy time yesterday dealing to two sets of rankings for the first time at its initial meeting for 2015. In a rare situation, a marked increase in Australian and international nominations made comparing the various merits of horses more difficult, but it is exciting to see so many varied form-lines coming together for races like the $750,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and the $250,000 Hellers Dominion. The NZ Trotting Cup rankings are headed by last season's 'Horse of the Year' Christen Me, with Australian nomination and Hunter Cup winner Arden Rooney at two being the top ranked visitor. While the NZ Cup is missing stars such as Adore Me and Terror To Love, a new guard is set to take their place. The committee was impressed with the overall depth and quality of those nominated, which suggests an intriguing spring build-up is in store. There is the potential to have a large group of quality up-and-comers clambering spots in the lead-up to harness racing's great race. In the Dominion, defending champion Jaccka Justy heads the list, just ahead of Trotter of the Year, Stent and the ever-present Sheemon. An exciting aspect is the addition of two well-performed European trotters. This is sure to add a significant edge to the Dominion and its lead-up. Ranking the Hellers Dominion proved to be an interesting process for the committee. Addington Racing Manager Brian Rabbit explains; "It's tremendous having the international flavour adding to the Dominion.: "The Australian nominations are well credentialed, which is great for the potential depth of the race but that also gave us some headaches." "The trickiest part for the committee was weighing up the two European horses, Used To Me and Daryl Boko." "Both have competed very well in the hotbed of European trotting." "Used To Me is a proven top-level type performer in France, while Daryl Boko ran third when favourite in the Finnish Derby last year, a Group 1 race worth 221,000 Euros and brings over solid Swedish form." "We had to exercise discretion for the European pair, as they clearly fall outside of what the ranking criteria was introduced to cover." The connections of smart trotter Boizel have made a Late Payment to nominate and he now takes the total number of Hellers Dominion nominations to 39. The next set of rankings will be released following a committee meeting on Tuesday 8 September after the Maurice Holmes Vase on September 4. 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. Courtney Clarke New Zealand Cup Rankings 1) Christen Me 2) Arden Rooney 3) Smolda 4) Franco Nelson 5) Franco Ledger 6) Sky Major 7) Ohoka Punter 8) Tiger Tara 9) Corzin Terror 10) Easy On The Eye 11) Venus Serena 12) Lancewood Lizzie 13) Mossdale Conner 14) Forever Gold 15) Jason Rulz 16) Belkmyster 17) Te Kawau 18) Dalton Bromac 19) Alleluia 20) Messini 21) Bit Of A Legend 22) Saveapatrol 23) Choise Achiever 24) Mach Beauty 25) Chancellor Cullen 26) Brilliant Strike 27) Quick As A Trick 28) Lewy Risk 29) Jivin Cullen 30) Ideal Success 31) Mighty Flying Mac 32) Mach’s Gladiator 33) Ballindooley 34) Bettor Dream 35) No Doctor Needed 36) Major Bubbles 37) Delightful Dash 38) Major Star 39) Provocative Prince 40) Zakspatrol   Dominion Handicap Rankings 1) Jaccka Justy 2) Stent 3) Sheemon 4) Master Lavros 5) Used To Me 6) Kincaslough 7) Alley Way 8) Vincennes 9) One Over Da Moon 10) Jag’s Invasion 11) King Denny 12) Habibti 13) Daryl Boko 14) Clover Don 15) Prime Power 16) Realmein 17) Kyvalley Blur 18) Maori Time  19) Springbank Sam 20) Speeding Spur 21) Royal Aspirations 22) Overanova 23) Boizel 24) Valmagne 25) Cool Cobber 26) Uncas 27) Monbet 28) Majestic Time 29) Quite A Moment 30) Escapee 31) Harrysul 32) Live The Dream 33) Sol Invictus 34) Al Bundy 35) Leanne’s Boy 36) Monty Python 37) Waterloo Sunset 38) Wingsonhai 39) Prestine  

Harness racing can be trying at times as anyone who has been in the industry for any length of time will be able to tell you. One who knows this better than most at the moment is owner of the year, Trevor Casey For all his recent success Trevor is experiencing a few bumps in the road trying to keep Escapee's new campaign on track The plan had as its immediate aim the Dominion Handicap in November. The plan is up in the air at the moment but that doesn't mean that she won't be racing this season Its just that she won't be racing from the All Stars barn. Mark and Duane Marfisi knew that Escapee would need special handling during her comeback but with the big spring team getting ready for racing, the extra time required to put into Escapee was just not available at the All Stars barn. As a result, Escapee is to be tried in in a different environment. Never an easy horse to train, Escapee has had a long absence after having a foal but after a very promising start this time in at the All Stars barn, she has caused problems for Duane. "When she gets upset she just takes off and one day when we had a gear problem I had trouble pulling her up on the straight track." "She just never came back to me" Duane said. Mark trialled her a few days later but she pulled very hard and he recommended a different approach to owner, Trevor Casey. " Mark thought that since he wouldn't be home at Rolleston for several weeks yet, that a move away from All Stars might help, " Trevor told Harnnesslink today. "After consulting with Mark, I have moved Escapee to Ken Barron's barn." " Blair (Orange) is there and he handled Escapee a lot when he worked at All Stars. " He has driven her and knows her so it seemed a logical move." " She is off to the trials at Ashburton on Tuesday so we will all be a lot wiser after that," Trevor said. Escapee has always been a high class race mare and would certainly add another dimension to the trotting features in New Zealand if she made a successful comeback to the track. Harnesslink Media

The former harness racing trotting queen Escapee is back in full work. The former age group trotting queen was retired to stud in 2013 but she is now to attempt a comeback aimed principally at the Group 1 Dominion Handicap in November at Addington Raceway. She has been in work for some time at Rolleston under the direct eye of the All Star foreman Duane Marfisi who has taken a keen interest in her comeback which is a strong sign she can regain her peak form for owner Trevor Casey. Escapee had a filly foal in her absence to Muscle Hill but she is still only seven and at her best would be a match for nearly any open trotter about. Escapee was first or second in 20 of her 34 starts to date (11 wins) and has already won over $270,000. "It seemed worthwhile when you considered everything."  "She had a suspensory problem when I retired her but she is well over that and much more settled than she used to be now as an older mare as well." "She is still the only trotter around who has beaten Stent more times than he has beaten her." She has not been overraced and is still quite young as trotters go." " She is not that far away from the trials but if we have any problems with her I won't risk her, she can go straight back in the broodmare paddock," Trevor said Trevor's star trotter Stent is keeping his passport in the draw this year as far as North America goes. Invited to an  US$1,000,000 International trot at Yonkers on October 10th, Trevor has had to decline the invitation this year. " Stent has had a good break and there is just not enough time to get him ready for such a challenging race." "We would be taking on the best in the world and you can't do that on a rushed preparation." " I told the North Americans that if he continues this season to race as well as he did last season then we would love to come up and match him with the best next year," Trevor said Harnesslink Media

The old saying in harness racing that form is temporary and class is permanent was never better displayed when Vulcan turned his career around with an outstanding win at Addington last night. The 8 year old son of Earl has been a big player at the elite level in the not to distant past but has been struggling during the last twelve months  to recapture that sort of form. This is a trotter who has racked up 10 Group 1 wins on both sides of the Tasman with 5 Group 1 wins in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand his victories include the coveted Dominion Handicap, two Harness Jewels victories as well as successes in the New Zealand Trotting Championship and New Zealand Trotting Free For All. In Australia his biggest wins were in the inaugural Great Southern Star (Heat + Final), The Knight Pistol Trot, V L Dullard Trotting Cup and the Australian Trotting Grand Prix. It is an outstanding record however you look at it and judging by last nights win he is not finished yet. With his form dropping away this season,the decision was made after the Dominion Handicap this year to lease a share of the horse to Roddy Butt. Vulcan was transferred to the beach training complex of David and Catherine Butt with Roddy doing most of the day to day work with the horse since his transfer.  In his three runs from his new quarters Vulcan was ok at Geraldine before running a much better race to run 4th at Methven last Sunday to Royal Aspirations in the trotters Green Mile. Last night driver Bob Butt who was wearing Roddy's colours had Vulcan away well from his 35 metres handicap and he settled seventh in the running early. Working up on the inner, Vulcan was four back as Vacanza set a hectic pace in front. Going past the 800 metres Vulcan was shuffled back to last and then hooked on to the three wide line on Valmagne's back. Going past the 500 metres mark Bob pushed the go button and Vulcan looped the field and shot clear as they turned for home. At the line Vulcan was still 3 1/2 lengths to the good of Royal Aspirations in a display that was more like the Vulcan of old. Vulcan trotted the 2600 metres from a stand in 3:15.4, a mile rate of 2:00.9 and only 6/10ths of a second outside of the New Zealand record for the trip held by Royal Aspirations. It was Vulcan's 19th career win and along with 19 placings took his earning to $994,969 and cracking the million is now on the radar. "It would be great to crack the million with him as he deserves it after what he has achieved," Bob Butt told Harnesslink this morning. "That is the immediate aim and we will just keep him to races like the one last night to give him every chance to crack the million," Bob said. Judging by the manner of his last to first burst last night it won't be too long until Vulcan cracks the million dollar mark. Never a horse that has received the accolades his performances have deserved, Vulcan deserves every bit of praise that he will receive when he cracks the million mark in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media  

Top squaregaiter Master Lavros will be sent to Matamata for further extensive tests after mixing his gait in the Dominion Handicap at Addington on Friday. Last year’s Dominion winner and the reigning Trotter of the Year hasn’t been 100 percent this spring. Despite the efforts of trainer Mark Jones to turn him round for Show day, the huge Sundon gelding gave further evidence of a hidden issue troubling him. “We’ll send him to Matamata and get them to run the dye through him,” Mark said. “We’re getting nothing the way we’re going so we’ll find out exactly what it is and let mother nature take its course ,” he said. The Overport trainer is prepared to give Master Lavros as much time as he needs to regain full health. Master Lavros, only six and young for a trotter, is the veteran of only 36 starts for 15 wins and earnings of $358,646. He stepped well from the inside of the back row on Friday, settling third, but broke when moving up in the open with 2450m left. He was out of contention thereafter, finishing 11th to runaway winner Jaccka Justy, for Westwood Beach (south Dunedin) co-trainer and driver Jonny Cox. The winner backed up was  backing up from a fast late finish for fifth in Tuesday’s NZ Trotting Free-For-All. Settling five back on the outer after beginning off the unruly, Jaccka Justy improved with three-wide cover behind Doctor Hook from the 700m to the turn and unleashed an undeniable run turning for home. Jonny Cox, who trains with partner Amber Hoffman, couldn’t hide his delight, saluting as he crossed the line, the winner clocking a strong 4:05.2 for the 3200m. The successful strike-rate trainer emulated a great family tradition with squaregaiters. Jonny was just nine when former family hero David Moss won the first of his two back-to-back Dominion Handicaps at Addington in 1993. Jonny’s father John Cox prepared the giant-sized Gekoj gelding David Moss at Winton for the first 15 of 31 wins. David Moss went on to win just over $490,000 in stakes. Due to southern commitments, John Cox sent David Moss to Canterbury trainer Robert Cameron for both Dominion wins, and for feature north racing to former Papakura trainer Clive Herbert. Jonny’s late grand-father, Harry Cox, a successful Winton trainer, prepared and drove Poupette for an upset win in the 1965 Interdominion Trotting Grand Final at Forbury Park. This was Jonny and Amber’s first Group One training success in the $255,000 feature, securing the $137,500 winning bankroll for owner, Charlie and Ailsa Small. Last season, they gained a Group Three win with the same horse in the Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup. Jaccka Justy has now raced 49 times for 13 wins and five placings for $224,718 in stakes. The Westwood Beach trainers and Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones have built up a good rapport during their training careers. They have been able to utilise each others facilities when their respective horses travel around the South Island for racing opportunities. Courtesy Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here  

This years Dominion Handicap looked one of the most open for years and harness racings holy grail for trotters turned out to be as open as it looked. Clover Don bounced out and grabbed an early lead from Sheemon and Master Lavros but after just 700 metres Master Lavros went into a break and extinguished any chance he had.   Clover Don kept up a quick tempo and was unchallenged in the lead with Sheemon on his back and Rare Opportunity sitting in the death seat.   Going past the 600 metres mark, Stent in the hands of Colin Defilippi ranged up outside Clover Don to dispute the lead and as they turned for home he went to the lead.   Sheemon after being held up by Clover Don got clear but while that was happening Jonny Cox was storming down the centre of the track with outsider Jaccka Justy  and put a break on the field that he held to the line.   Sheemon finished on and was just as clearly second from a good finisher in Kincaslough with Jags Invasion running into fourth.   Jaccka Justy ran the 3200 metres in 4:05.2, a mile rate of 2:3.2 with closing sectionals of 58.8 and 29.6.   Trained at Westwood Beach south of Dunedin by Jonny Cox and Amber Hoffman, Jaccka Justy was clocking up his 12th win today and took his earnings to a healthy $224,718.    Jonny Cox gave a huge whip salute as he hit the line and was elated with the run of Jaccka Justy.   " All credit to the horse who went super."   I got a lovely run and a nice drag into the race and Jaccka did the rest he said.   Well known owner Charlie Smaill was all but speechless at the presentation.   " I don't know what to say really but this is one of the greatest moments in my life," he said.   A son of Continental Man, Jaccka Justy was bred by his owners and traces back to Super Brenda,a Super Bowl mare imported by National Bloodstock in the 1980s.       Harnesslink Media  

If champion pacer Terror To Love wins his fourth Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup  tomorrow at Addington he’ll write his name in the history books by becoming the only standardbred  ever to accomplish the feat.  What an achievement that would be.  If this happens, Addington will open the gates to all and provide FREE ENTRY on Show Day,  Friday 14 November. Show Day features the running of the Hellers Dominion and the Woodlands Free For All.  For those patrons that have pre-purchased Show Day tickets a refund will be available. Dash ticketing will automatically refund any on-line purchases and any cash sales can be refunded through the Addington Office on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 November.  Make sure you are at Addington tomorrow for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day.  The first race is scheduled at 12.05pm and the Cup goes to post at 5.15pm.  At stake is $700,000 in prize money – a $50,000 increase on last year – cementing the Christchurch  Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup as the richest standing start harness race in Australasia. Look out for a massive 1000sq. metre “Good Luck Terror To Love Banner” that will fly over the main  arterial routes of the city just after noon today and around the same time tomorrow. There’ll be 500 “Terror” caps given away to the first 500 patrons through the main entrance at Horncastle Arena from 9.30am when gates open. A crowd in excess of 20,000 is expected at Addington for the feature race and Addington  Management is reminding patrons heading to the raceway that an alcohol ban will be in place in and  around Addington Raceway and Events Centre from 9am to 10pm. The ban applies to the area bounded by Blenheim Road, Moorhouse Avenue, Lincoln Road, Wrights Road and Matipo Street and will be enforced by police. General Admission tickets are still available at $20 plus a booking fee, $30 on the Day. A limited number of Lindauer Lawn Tickets remain at $70 plus a booking fee. Information and Tickets at Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Master Lavros, last year’s Dominion Handicap winner and Trotter of the Year, had two days out in the paddock this week to help get over a mixed run at Kaikoura on Monday. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones and his Woodend-based right-hand man Regan Todd are doing their best to get the top trotter  back to where he needs to be by next Friday, but time is against them. Mark is aware he faces a big challenge to get Master Lavros back to his best. “He’s just got a few little issues. He would get away with it pacing in his hopples but he’s a trotter and when he broke the other day he made a real mess of things.” “If he’s right he can still win the Dominion but I haven’t got long to turn him round, so we might be pushing things uphill a bit.” Mark said. There was better news for the stable at Wednesday’s NZ Cup trials at Addington with promising 4YO squaregaiter Eyre I Come giving another good display. Eyre I Come, an acceptor for the C2 and faster Garrards Horse & Hound Trot over 3200m to open NZ Cup day proceedings, stepped safely on Wednesday. The Majestic Son gelding trailed early for race driver Blair Orange, then took over again with 1700m to run. He was always travelling well, scoring by 2 3/4 lengths over Tuesday race rival Jayceekay in 3:28.7 for the stand start 2600m in the slushy conditions. Eyre I Come quickened over his last 800m in 59.9s and his final 400m in 28.2s. and looks ready for Cup day. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here

 Derek Balle won’t let Cool Cobber’s hot form sway him from his plans. Which means the dark horse of the Dominion Handicap will race once and only once during his southern campaign. The former Southland trotter recorded a monster performance to win at Alexandra Park last Friday, making up five lengths in the straight to grab a very brave Miss Pegasus, who probably lost the race when working hard to get the lead mid-race. As good as she was, Cool Cobber was better as he started off a 40m handicap and looked to have no chance at the 400m before coming four wide and storming to a nose victory in a 3:28 amended time for the 2700m standing start. The win showed he is on track for the Dominion and his fourth to Master Lavros in the Rowe Cup last season proved he isn’t outgunned in the big time. But Balle also believes both Cool Cobber and stablemate Boizel after better horses with their races spaced, so they will dodge the Trotting Free-For-All at Addington on Cup day. “I think we should stick to our plan, which has always been to make the Dominion the big aim,” said Balle. “Things could maybe change for Boizel if the free-for-all really fell away but when you look at the depth in the mile at Ashburton on Monday there are going to be plenty of good horses in both races. “And I think both this horses would be better served just racing in the Dominion. “But they are likely to go to the Cup trials first.” Unfortunately for Balle, Cool Cobber would also be better served if the Dominion was at Alexandra Park. “He is definitely better right-handed but for $200,000 you don’t get to pick and choose so really he has to go down.” As good as Cool Cobber is going, Boizel appears to have lost a length or two since his big fresh-up second to Irish Whisper. “I think that night have flattened him a bit,” admits Balle. “I am sure he will bounce back but at the moment Cool Cobber is going better, as we saw tonight,” he said post-race. With the first two being so good, it was easy to overlook the third placing of Ace Moment. Not long ago he was battling for his best form but looks to have found it again and when the better trotters head south he looks a good option for punters in this grade. Beyond The Silence is coming through the grades but even with five or six quality southerners coming north after Cup week, there could be some big races with class four type fronts around over the summer. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand  

NZ Trotter of the Year Master Lavros is set to have another trial this week for Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones. Master Lavros made a return to the track at the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday, September 17, but wasn’t pushed after losing ground early. “He missed away bad being so fresh,” Mark said. “But I was very happy with afterwards.” Master Lavros wasn’t asked for a serious run in the C1 and faster trot taken out by fellow 40m marker Phil’s Gift, who trotted the 2600m (stand) in 3:26.6 for driver Stevie Golding. Mark has a return to racing earmarked for the big Sundon gelding in a $12,000 C4-0C trot over 2600m at Addington on October 3. He’s had a great long slow build-up,” Mark said. Master Lavros will be a leading hope to repeat last year’s dominant Group One Dominion Handicap success at the New Zealand Cup meeting. Now six, the Kypros Kotzikas-owned trotting star is still lightly-raced, despite kicking off his career with three starts at two. He’s faced the starter only 31 times for 15 wins and five placings, banking $351,468. Last season, he won seven of 15 starts, securing his place in NZ trot history as the winner of three NZ Group One trot races in the same season. He was spelled after taking out the G1 Canam Rowe Cup at Auckland on May 9. Master Lavros also won the G1 $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington in April in a NZ record for the mobile 2600m of 3:13.1 (1:59.4 rate). For good measure, he also won two Group Three trots at Addington last term, the $25,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Summer Trotting Free-For-All (mobile 1950m) and $25,000 Dr Cliff Irvine Memorial Canterbury Park Trotting Cup (2600m). Unfortunately, his only start in Australia resulted in gallop in the Glenferrie Challenge at Menangle on March 2, but will be given the chance to show his best across the Tasman this season. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing - Visit site here

A brave and what looked like a successful bid to get Armbro Demon to the New Zealand Cup meeting and beyond came to an end midweek when the mare developed suspensory problems. Mark Purdon was philosophical about the injury. "She suddenly developed a problem which I thought might be a suspensory and she also had a smaller problem in the other leg. (Vet) Bill Bishop confirmed that is what it was and it means she has been retired. We found out she had had a suspensory problem before having a long spell and unfortunately it has returned'' Armbro Demon caused something of a sensation winning at the Cup meeting three years ago in only her third win up from a spell for owner-trainer Chris McLeod. She trotted the 3200m in a sensational 4.05.8 winning easily. She has only had two starts in nearly three years since having suffered an injury in 2012 and her career stands at five wins from only 10 starts. Chris, who had put so much time into the Armbro Invasion mare, agreed to lease her out for one more try for a race career and it wasn't a well kept secret around the All Stars stable that her ability  had made a deep impression at Rolleston. Armbro Demon had a few tricks to play on the unwary but she had gradually adapted well to a big stable atmosphere. Word of her ability must have leaked out because there were substantial bets placed on her in the Dominion Handicap especially in all up betting. Courtesy Of All Star Racing

Harness racing recently saw the brilliant Monarchy gelding Sovereignty retired due to soundness problems and he has been joined in the retirement paddock today by another Monarchy gelding in Stylish Monarch who has also succumbed to soundness problems. Trained for all but one start in his career  by his Timaru trainer Murray Tapper, Stylish Monarch at his peak was as good as any trotter going around in New Zealand in the last ten years.  Between 2009 and 2011, Stylish Monarch was the horse they all had to beat in the big trotting races in New Zealand. Partnered with champion reinsman Ricky May through most of his career, Stylish Monarch claimed two New Zealand Trotting Championships (Group One) over the brilliant I Can Doosit and a stunning win in the Group Two Flying Mile at Cambridge over Sovereignty in 1:57.5. The biggest win for Stylish Monarch was undoubtedly his victory in the Group One $200,000 Dominion Handicap where he again defeated I Can Doosit in a stunning 4:02.9 for the 3200 meters from a stand. Plagued by soundness issues, Stylish Monarch was retired in August of 2013. However around May this year Murray Tapper took Stylish Monarch back to the stables because he was looking so well in the paddock. The plan was to use him as a training partner for the younger horses in the stable but Stylish Monarch was so impressive and sound that Tapper decided to try to get him back to the races. The first few trials were encouraging but after a less than stellar performance at his fourth trial, Stylish Monarch came up sore a few days later. So Stylish Monarch goes to the retirement paddock having faced the starter just 60 times for 17 wins and 21 placings for $500,620 in stakes. Harness racing today is dominated by the big stables in the main but Stylish Monarch and Murray Tapper proved once again that the little guy can still succeed at the top level. Harnesslink Media    

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