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Veteran pacer Alexy wrote a record into the final chapter in the history of Forbury Park with his fast finishing win at the track yesterday. The Waikouaiti trained 11-year-old became the most experienced winner at the Dunedin course and any other track across New Zealand when he clinched victory in race 5 with a late dive. Already New Zealand’s most experienced harness horse, Alexy extended his own record as the country’s most experienced winner when scoring in his 318th start. The evergreen pacer previously clinched the record by winning in his 281st start in August of last year. Six of Alexy’s 10 seasons of racing and nine of his eleven wins have come from trainer Denis O’Connell’s Waikouaiti stable. After those years together and their treks up and down the South Island to race meetings, the thrill of winning has not faded. If anything, it has gotten stronger. “That was a great effort, he really finished it off strong, I was so thrilled,” O’Connell said. “In fact, it brought a tear to my eye, to be honest.” Alexy did not come into yesterday’s 2200m event in the form of his life, having run eighth and 10th in his two prior starts. His win was a case of the veteran bringing the kind of form he had shown in his recent trackwork at Waikouaiti Beach to the races. “He has been working a treat, but he hasn’t been racing as well as I have been expecting to recently,” O’Connell said. “I have been expecting better and he showed his old class on his favourite track.” “I was very proud of the old boy.” With Alexy thriving in his work at home, his owners, O’Connell and his brothers Daniel, Gerald, Eugene and his wife Pru, as well as well as the trainer’s sister, Joan Braam, are not likely to retire him any time soon. The pacer’s career has outlived those of many of his rivals over his ten seasons on the track and it is set to outlive the Forbury Park track, which is slated for closure at the end of the current racing season. While the horse is happy in his work, O’Connell will continue to campaign the pacer across the South Island. “If he carries on working the way he is we will keep on trucking with him.” “When he starts telling us he has had enough it will be the end of the road for him racing.” Alexy was patiently handled by driver Nathan Williamson, who sat him off a hotly contested speed before perfectly timing his late-closing finish. The pacer is scheduled to race at Winton on Saturday, but that will depend on how many rating points he collects for yesterday’s win. View the Forbury Park results click here!   By Jonny Turner

A tricky autumn got trickier for La Rosa when she drew barrier 1 on the second row in the Nevele R Fillies R Series heat at Forbury Park on Wednesday. View the Forbury harness racing fields click here! Problems behind the mobile have plagued the Mark Jones trained filly have proved costly, taking her out of play in two recent features. Jones and driver Samantha Ottley combined to get the filly’s campaign on track with a powerful and faultless last start performance at Addington. But just a matter of days later the pacer was handed a draw the one draw her trainer didn’t want. “One on the second row is the one place we didn’t want to draw,” Jones said. “The second row is where she has her problems scoring up.” “Hopefully she will be OK but even if she does things right she is still going to be relying on a bit of luck.” “Town Echo and Off N Gone will probably go forward and she will have to chase them.” Though her true talent hasn’t been on full display recently, it is clear going by her last start performance that La Rosa’s recent antics haven’t had any effect on her physical capabilities. “It was pleasing what she did at Addington, I would say just in the last two weeks she has improved a wee bit,” Jones said. “I am quite happy with the way she is going, put it that way.” Both the Robert Dunn trained duo of Town Echo (5) and Off N Gone (6) have the advantage of starting from the front line in Wednesday’s 1700m dash. Town Echo was good in second behind La Rosa in the first start of her new campaign at Addington. Off N Gone got too far out of her ground in her last start in another heat of the Nevele R Fillies R Series won by Life's A Beach. That run was the filly’s first since returning from Auckland after racing in the Northern Oaks and she should strip fitter on Wednesday. Jones also steps out first starter Miss Serenade in race 4 on Wednesday. The three-year-old has trialled smartly in Canterbury and looks well placed in a field filled mainly with horses that have had plenty of opportunities in the past. “In that race, so long as she does things right, she would be awfully hard to beat, I would say.” Blair Orange takes the reins behind Miss Serenade. Samantha Ottley drives the Jones trained Artatac in race 8. The three-year-old has appeared unlucky when held up at vital stages of his last two starts. Though Jones is not convinced that has been the case. “He has looked unlucky in his last couple of starts but he has put himself in that position.” “He is working super but not bringing it to the races, so it just depends on which horse turns up.” “It is all in the top six inches with him.” Artatac has drawn a tricky alley in his request to regain form and starts from barrier 7.   By Jonny Turner

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Forbury Park today with an eight race program starting at 3:11pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good afternoon of racing. Forbury Park selections 14th April 2021 Best Bet:  R8 Artatac Best Value:  R2 Flying Heathers One   Race 1 Crown Range (7) Tease My Tartan (4) Muscle Power (5) Ella Of Mot (6)   Race 2 Flying Heathers One (2) The Artful Dodger (4) Cute Art (9) Lou's Deal (5)   Race 3 Miss Serenade (4) Searing Light (6) Missmollygoodgolly (8) Friendly Eyre (9)   Race 4 Top Pocket Chance (8) Cody Banner (5) Tolkien (1) Alvira Hest (7)   Race 5 Prospect Park (3) Bettors Atom (1) Shards In Manhattan (6) Edge Sheeran (12)   Race 6 Sundons Flyer (2) Sekkie Monkey (11) Sunnivue Phileah (3) Spotlight The Valley (10)   Race 7 Town Echo (5) La Rosa (9) Off N Gone (6) Bizzie Lou (7)   Race 8 Artatac (7) Ultimate Sassenach (2) Wolfenstein (4) Four Starzzz Shiraz (6)   Harnesslink Media

Four quality drives await junior reinswoman Kerryn Tomlinson at Wingatui on Monday. Bookmakers are backing Tomlinson to enjoy a good afternoon at Forbury Park’s dual-code meeting, rating each of her four drives either first or second favourite. Olive Cook heads Tomlinson’s handy book following her solid fresh up second at Addington last week. The Peter and Mitchell Robertson trained mare looks to get a royal chance to strike winning form in race 5. “We were really happy with her at Addington,” Tomlinson said. “She was fresh up and she should be a little bit fitter this time.” “And the race on Monday looks a little bit easier, so she should be a good chance.” Olive Cook opened the $3.10 favourite for race 5 on the back of her second to Immer Besser last Thursday. Lincoln Moment, to be driven by Tomlinson’s sister Sheree, looks the main threat to Olive Cook. The Shane Matheson trained pacer struggled in his last start on a wet Oamaru track but should be back on firmer ground on Monday. Lincoln Moment has been rated the $4.80 second-favourite by bookmakers. Tomlinson also combines with Sundons Flyer in race 4. The Bruce Negus trained mare free-falls back in class considering she raced Dark Horse in free-for-all company two starts ago. If she brings her A-game the eight-year-old should offer plenty. “She hasn’t been going as well as she can but if she was on her game she would be a good chance,” Tomlinson said. “She likes grass and she is best driven with a sit so hopefully she can get a nice run somewhere.” “It’s a long straight at Wingatui so hopefully she is running home over top of them.” Sundons Flyer opened at $5 odds in fixed odds betting before being backed into $4.60. Top Pocket Chance was rated the $4 favourite for race 4 on market opening. Tomlinson combines with the consistent Summars in race 2. It will not be easy for the Ross Wilson trained mare to take on race winners as a maidener, but her form means she deserves good respect. “It is never easy being a maiden taking on those horses that have won races,” Tomlinson said. “But she is very consistent, she looks like she will need the right run and if she gets it she should be a good chance.” Summars was rated the $5.50 equal second favourite with Whangamata on fixed-odds market opening. Deborah’s Gem, who trialled well at Oamaru last week, was rated the $5 favourite. Tomlinson also drives Olive Cook’s stablemate Itz The Con Artist in race 3. The pacer worked too hard in his first-up effort when seventh at Addington last week. From barrier 1 the four-year-old should get a much more economical trip on Monday. “She just got caught a bit wide and had to do too much work at Addington,” Tomlinson said. “From [barrier] 1 she should get a nice run.” Itz The Con Artist opened at a $3.40 fixed odds win price, behind the $3.20 favourite for race 3, Arizona Doll. View the fields for Wingatui click here!   by Jonny Turner

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Wingatui today with a six race program starting at 12:00pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Wingatui selections 22nd March 2021 Best Bet:  R4 Sundons Flyer Best Value:  R1 Paradise Valley   Race 1 Paradise Valley Valynda Wonthavtime Superfast   Race 2 Deborahs Gem Midnight Memories Pat The Monkey Whangamata   Race 3 Arizona Doll Honour Before Glory Shezdawon Southern Starr   Race 4 Sundons Flyer Top Pocket Chance Matai Jetstar Sage Trouble   Race 5 Bettors Atom Boulton Home Essence Of Easton Alexsjoy   Race 6 Wolfenstein Four Starzzz Shiraz To Ri Caitlin Tulsa Jaccka   Harnesslink media

Dunedin’s historic Forbury Park will close, the harness racing club has confirmed. The news came after a New Zealand Racing-commissioned review recommended the park be closed. The future of the park, which celebrated 100 years of harness racing in 2009, was untenable given current operating and expenditure costs, the Forbury Park Trotting Club said in a statement. The club was working with the Otago Racing Club for the benefit of both racing codes in Dunedin. Read more click here!   Hamish McNeilly courtesy of Stuff

By Jonny Turner    One of Forbury Park’s stalwarts enjoyed success just a day after the 60th anniversary of its first night meeting when Dem Bones Dem Bones trotted to victory on Wednesday. There was no need for lights as the sun shone on the trotter trained by Ray Hanson as she strode to victory during one of the few daytime meetings the track has hosted over the past six decades. Hanson was not on hand for the start of night racing at the Dunedin track but has been there for 50 years of its 60-year-run. “I worked out that I have been training for 50 years.” “I remember when they tested new lights before I started, I was in the fire service at the time.” “It was just incredible the way they lit up the whole area.” Hanson took out his training licence in 1980 and has racked up 31 wins working his horses at Forbury Park and at nearby Smaills Beach alongside friend and fellow Forbury Park Stalwart, the late Fergus Mathieson. Exactly what number of victories the veteran horseman finishes his career on with be up to Dem Bones Dem Bones. Hanson has decided the five-year-old will be the last horses he will continues to train. With the way she has progressed recently and her victory on Wednesday the trainer’s tally looks set to edge higher into the thirties. “She has been knocking, it has only been immaturity that has been stopping her,” Hanson said. “We have just been waiting for the penny to drop.” Dem Bones Dem Bones has taken a while to get her racing nous up to standard, often making slow beginnings before rushing home for a minor placing. Hanson took the mare off the unruly two starts ago and was immediately lumped with a wide draw at Ascot Park before being handed a second row draw in Wednesday’s race. The trainer had done his best to get the mare ready to win, so left it to driver Matthew Williamson to try to get Dem Bones Dem Bones into a handy spot. “I said to Matty you are just going to have to sort that one out yourself,” Hanson said. Williamson did exactly that and miraculously worked the mare into the trail with a lap to go when he was threatened with being left sitting parked. “It was out of character, she is normally chasing from a long way back, but here she was sitting behind the leader with a lap to go,” Hanson said. A lack of trials in the Dunedin region has not helped Dem Bones Dem Bones learn the racing game and Hanson believes it has cost her progressing further. “I have got a lot of time for her.” “I haven’t rushed her and if we weren’t so short of trials down here I think she would be a lot further forward.” Hanson credited Williamson for his help in teaching the mare to get away faster and race more tractably in the field. “I have been lucky with Matt’s father (Phil Williamson) not having many maidens at the moment I have been able to get him to drive her.” “It has just been a natural progression, he is a very knowledgeable driver.” “In fact, I rate him the best trotting driver there is.” Hanson races Dem Bones Dem Bones with Keith Campbell of Dunedin and Barry Dent of Christchurch. Williamson enjoyed a great run in the silky on Wednesday, winning four races.

By Jonny Turner    Kerryn Tomlinson hopes she can be the factor that gets Shards Fury a deserved win at Forbury Park on Wednesday. The five-year-old has been very consistent since joining Brad Williamson’s barn but so far has not been able to break through. Tomlinson has recently been at the helm of the Oamaru stable since Williamson left Australia to drive Majestic Man in his upcoming assignments. And she is enjoying the challenge. “It's great, I have got Mitch Robertson here helping work the team and I get to boss him around.” Tomlinson taking over the reins and the training from Williamson is not the only change that could help Shards Fury in race 3. Lining up from barrier 5 will be a massive improvement for the pacer. “It is the first time he has drawn the front row since he came here, that is the key,” Tomlinson said. “He used to have a bit of gate speed, so hopefully he will be able to get out and get handy.” “He has been working quite good this week, if he can get out and roll along a bit it should suit him.” On face value, Shards Fury ran a respectable third behind Mach O’Melley in his last start at Winton. But his team were a little disappointed with his effort and have made some gear alterations in the hope he can produce better. “He was a wee bit disappointing last time, so we have made some gear changes and hopefully we have sorted that out,” Tomlinson said. “With the way he has worked hopefully he will be a good chance.” Tomlinson also combines with the Williamson trained Jaguar Bay in race 5. The six-year-old looks to be dropping into a winnable race after running a sound sixth in her last start at Winton. Jaguar Bay’s chances will largely rely on how she handles the Forbury Park track in her first start there. “She had a few problems and it took her a while to come back up but she is all good now,” Tomlinson said. “It is going to be hard because she doesn’t trot as nice on the smaller tracks.” “If she can step away and she trots she will be a chance.” “She has to wear a (boring) pole but she can fight it, which is why she broke at Roxburgh.” Tomlinson has picked up a catch drive behind the Michael House trained Shillelagh in race 8 on Wednesday. The nine-year-old’s form does not look flash but he has been racing in strong company against horses like his cup-winning stablemate Kruizr. “I don’t know a lot about the horse to be honest, but he has obviously got a bit of ability to have won nine races,” Tomlinson said. “He has been racing in some good fields lately and at Addington before that.” “He could be a place chance if he gets a nice run with some cover.” Tomlinson is looking forward to taking the reins behind the Williamson trained Rydgemont Son at Addington on Friday night. The six-year-old made up a big slice of ground after missing away in his last start at Winton behind Springbank Mason. “He is probably the biggest winning chance this week.” “He missed away but he is behind the mobile this time.” “There are a couple in there that could be hard to beat like Missalyssa and Smokin Bandar.” “But he should go a good race.” Rydgemont Son has drawn barrier 8 in his 1980m assignment.

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Forbury today with an eight race program starting at 1:00pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Forbury selections 27th January 2021 Best Bet:  R2 Boarding Call Best Value:  R6 Four Starzzz Shiraz   Race 1 Emdeegee Son Of Majestic Tease My Tartan Dem Bones Dem Bones   Race 2 Boarding Call La Rocca Southern Ideal Change At The Top   Race 3 Mark Dunnett Owes Me Dough Shards Fury Bobby Vinton   Race 4 Changearound Frosty Reception Cha Cha B The Night Watchman   Race 5 Fast Whispering Shandon Bells Svelt Listen Easy   Race 6 Four Starzzz Shiraz To Ri Caitlin Alexy Gabby's Star   Race 7 Missie Castleton Playboy's Brother Spotlight The Valley Horse Of Course   Race 8 Rocknroll King Art Courage American Mac Sagwitch   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Striking Gladiator continued a winning run for trainer Gerard O’Reilly at Forbury Park on Wednesday night that looks set to add to the tally on Friday afternoon. The Rakaia horseman had Striking Gladiator ready to score a returning win with his daughter Sarah in the sulky and the pair delivered in style by taking out race 7. Set aside after clashing with star 3yr-old It’s All About Faith in July, Striking Gladiator thrived during recent time in the spelling paddock. “He has got better this time in and he is a bit stronger.” Gerard O’Reilly said. “He has got a big frame and even though he looks like a big, strong horse he has had growing issues.” “The spell did him well and he has come back good.” Punters did not miss the improvement in Striking Gladiator that was seen in his workout and trial wins leading into his resumption. The pacer, who is owned by his driver and The Clann Syndicate, was backed into a $1.80 win price. Striking Gladiator is now likely to be aimed at the two-day Nelson meeting on the second weekend in January. “Sarah is pretty keen to take him to Nelson, he will end up on the circuit up there all going well,” O’Reilly said. Striking Gladiator’s win came just three days after the O’Reilly stable unleashed another impressive 3yr-old winner. O’Reilly himself was in the sulky this time, behind Sweet Belle when she scored comfortably to remain unbeaten in two starts at Methven on Sunday. “She is a lovely filly,” O’Reilly said. “She had a spell after her first start as a two-year-old.” “She is not paid up for any fillies’ series, so we had the luxury of giving her a good break.” “She has come back good, she has been a lovely horse right from day one.” O’Reilly’s winning run could continue he when substitutes for the suspended Samantha Ottley behind open-class star Majestic Lavros at Addington on Friday afternoon. The reinsman admitted he was surprised to get the call up to drive the Mark Jones trained trotter, who has a key barrier draw advantage over his main rivals Heavyweight Hero and Dark Horse in race 9. Majestic Lavros just needs to improve his manners when he starts from barrier 4 after galloping when looming up to the leader The Dominator in last weekend’s Trotters’ Green Mile at Methven. Ifyousayso will attempt to continue the success the O’Reilly stable has enjoyed over the past week when lining up in race 4 at Addington. The 4yr-old resumed with a solid second behind runaway winner Storm at Addington last week. “He has bounced through the run really good, that has been his problem in the past,” O’Reilly said. “The runs have knocked him a bit and we have to space his races.” “But he is good and we are lining up with the good money up and we will see how we go.” O’Reilly’s brother, Leo, also cashed in on a rare trip to Forbury Park. On a night when Alexy made headlines for equalling New Zealand’s record for most starts, fellow 11yr-old Jerry Garcia took winning honours with his victory in race 4. The victory was Leo O’Reilly’s first as a driver at Forbury Park since he scored with Top Brass in 2013. The Rakaia horseman’s last win as a trainer at the Dunedin track came with Him Himself in 2000.

By Jonny Turner    History will be made at Forbury Park tonight when Waikouaiti pacer Alexy becomes just the second horse in modern-day harness racing to start 300 times in New Zealand. The Denis O’Connell trained veteran will notch a triple century of racetrack appearances when stepping out in race 5. The 11-year-old has already delivered plenty of thrills for his trainer and the group of his family members that race the rugged pacer. By 6.51 pm tonight Alexy will add a most unique achievement to his lengthy resumé. “He has been a grand old horse for us,” O’Connell said. “He has given us a lot of thrills and a lot of pleasure.” A steady regime of beach work has kept Alexy bringing home winner’s cheques since he joined the O’Connell stable in January of 2016. The veteran is no late bloomer, having stepped out as a 2yr-old for original trainer Mark Jones in 2012 and then racing in every harness racing season since. Alexy won once for Jones and once for O’Connell’s brother-in-law Bruce Negus before winning a further eight times after shifting to Waikouaiti. O’Connell puts the horse’s longevity down to him being able to shrug off any adversity quickly. “He is a real iron horse – he is very, very tough,” O’Connell said. “Nothing seems to worry him, he seems to get over any problems very quickly.” He may be something of a fan favourite, but Alexy is not always popular with other horses. Alexy does not just impose his will on the track with determined performances each week. The 11-year-old likes to be top dog and is quick to show other horses that with a quick draw of his back legs. “The big thing is at any stable he is always the boss,” O’Connell said. “He likes to dominate any new horse that comes around.” “He has a cunning way of doing it, he doesn’t go up to them and give them any cheek.” “He just walks over and he puts his neck out and his ears back.” “If there is any nonsense he is pretty quick to give them both barrels.” “He likes to be the boss.” Alexy will join Cambridge trotter Danke in the 300-start club tonight. Danke was the first horse to start 300 times since harness racing records were collated when he stepped out on his home track as a 12yr-old in his last outing in June. With Danke not having raced since then, Alexy requires just one more start beyond tonight’s race to hold the all-time record for starts in New Zealand. Alexy goes into tonight’s event after running eighth at Addington last week. Some light work at Waikouaiti beach, which O’Connell light-heartedly refers to as ‘surfing’ has the pacer ready to give his best. “He is working OK, he hasn’t done much since he last raced at Addington on Saturday night.” “He has just been surfing since then.” “He seems to be happy enough.” Alexy lines up alongside his stablemate, Pete’s Dash, in tonight’s 2200m event. O’Connell also starts another seasoned pacer in race 8 in 10yr-old Four Starzzz Shiraz. Though with 150 starts to his name he could be considered just a baby when compared with Alexy.

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Forbury today with a nine race program starting at 4.53pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a nice day of racing. Forbury selections 16th December 2020 Best bet: R6 Striking Gladiator Best value R1 Jay Bee And Lou   Race 1 Jay Bee And Lou strong run at recent workouts and drawn well…Manners the only concern but should be thereabouts. Top selection.…… Tease My Tartan normally a good beginner and top driver booked. Can win..… Pastrana change of trainer and a good chance if he can get handy with no mistakes. Include…… Dem Bones Dem Bones runs the odd good race and not the worst here. Could upset with manners Selections:  Jay Bee And Lou  (1),   Tease My Tartan (4),   Pastrana (7)   Dem Bones Dem Bones (10)   Race 2 Adhara tidy form before last start failure and looks the top winning chance here. Hard to beat with a good run in transit.……. Midnitetraintogeorga has the ability and top driver on board. Would be a player if she gets handy early from the wide draw…… Marie Long has run some good races previously and drawn to trail. One for longer odds…… Antoinette racing ok at trials and trainer does well on the track. Could run top three Selections:  Adhara (2),  Midnitetraintogeorga (7),   Marie Long (1),   Antoinette (5)   Race 3 Major Wilson down from Canterbury and running into form. Should give a good sight from the draw….. Magic Sign drawn to get a run through early. Good winning chance in this field….. Mayhem In Malibu has the ability to beat a field like this but needs a run handy to the lead and the speed on all the way. Can win….. The Naenae Express should land a cosy run on the fence. Place chances look best Selections:   Major Wilson (1),   The Naenae Express (9),   Magic Sign (2)    Mayhem In Malibu (3)   Race 4 Sundons Flyer ok last start and now in the hands of a master trainer of trotters. Top selection ….. Playboy's Brother racing into form and gets a head start on the favourites. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Missie Castleton ok trial form leading into this and now beach trained. Winning claims at good odds….. Jerry Garcia likely to get a good run close to the lead and looks a place hope again here Selections:   Sundons Flyer (9),   Jerry Garcia (2),   Playboy's Brother (4)  Missie Castleton (7)   Race 5 Jacks N Jazz ok last start and will probably lead here. Top selection ….. Pete's Dash racing into form and drawn favourably. Hard to beat if the pace is on all the way….. Myrcella getting fitter and drawn well. Winning claims at good odds….. Franco June tricky draw but top driver on. Rough place hope at big odds Selections:   Jacks N Jazz (5),   Pete's Dash (4),   Myrcella (3)   Franco June (8)   Race 6 Striking Gladiator conditions suit and workout form is pretty good. Will be hard to beat and should be winning.…. Immer Besser coming in fresh but has a lot of speed. Can run top three in this field…… Tartan Roxy racing well and should get a good run from the draw. Should be close to the placings..… Beaudiene Hustler change of trainer grabs our attention. Has some speed and could upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Striking Gladiator (7),   Immer Besser (5),   Tartan Roxy (4),   Beaudiene Hustler (6)   Race 7 Harry H in good form and conditions suit here. Hard to beat if he brings his manners.… Celebration Stride good win last start in lower grade. Hard to beat with a cart into the race ….. Zealous Spur speedy when caught in the right mood. Can win if they go hard up front and he has one run at them…. Maudarchy stable usually go well with new acquisitions. This one has manners and can run top three. Selections:   Harry H (11),  Celebration Stride (9),   Maudarchy (13),  Zealous Spur (12)   Race 8 Ferritts Sister pacer in form and likely to head for the front. Has winning claims and top selection….. Wolfenstein good draw and has the speed to compete with these. One for longer odds ….. Tres Chic good staying type who gets in well here. She will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Sagwitch tricky draw but if the pace is on he could surprise for a top three finish and has won a few times on the track.….. Selections:   Ferritts Sister (4),   Sagwitch (7),   Wolfenstein (3),   Tres Chic (8)   Race 9 In Chevron We Trust racing ok in better fields. Hard to beat here….. Ivana Legacy a bit out of form but loves the track and should give a good account over the sprint trip. Needed….. Brightest Moment has the ability to beat a field like this but needs a run near the lead and the speed on all the way. Can upset….. Gabby's Star has raced ok previously on the track and getting fitter but tricky draw. Place chances look best Selections:   In Chevron We Trust (3),   Ivana Legacy (4),   Gabby's Star (7)    Brightest Moment (9)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Plenty has gone wrong for star Otago pacer Spirit Of St Louis ahead of the season’s biggest race on his home track, Sunday’s Tuapeka Cup. The Graeme Anderson and Mike Love trained four-year-old comes into the 2700m Forbury Park handicap after overcoming a throat infection which was discovered after his last start at Winton. That diagnosis explained why Spirit Of St Louis produced a slightly disappointing effort for third when he could not go with the winner, Pembrook’s Playboy, after sitting on his back before the home turn. Not long after the Westwood Beach flier got over his throat problem, he developed a hoof abscess. That has left Anderson and Love in a race against time to get the four-year-old ready for the Tuapeka Cup and his big spring target, the group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes. “He has had a few little setbacks, he had a sore foot the other day, so we had to put a pad on it,” Anderson said. “We gave him a good hit-out on Friday, he missed a trial at Oamaru because of his foot.” “It would have been nice to get that run into him.” “He seems bright and happy, but a lack of racing at the moment is counting against him.” “Everything about his demeanour is good, he seems healthy, so hopefully he is on the way back.” The Anderson-Love stable have been able to give Spirit Of St Louis one quiet workout since his last race, which he won in sedate time. Going into Sunday’s feature without having had a serious run in more than six weeks means driver Matthew Williamson could look to drive the four-year-old for one late finish from his 30m back mark. That would play to Spirit Of St Louis’ biggest strength – his high speed. But it could also leave the pacer relying on race tempo. “There is only eight left in it, so he is not going to too far back,” Anderson said. “It will depend on how he steps away and where he is with a lap to go.” “If they walked around and they sprinted home in 26sec it will be hard to get over the top of them.” “It will just depend on what happens on the day.” Robyns Playboy also comes into his Tuapeka Cup defence after a slightly disappointing effort in his last start. Like his fellow 30m backmarker, the Ross and Chris Wilson trained pacer could not hold the back of Pembrook Playboy after tracking him throughout in his last start Ascot Park. Robyns Playboy produced excellent efforts in his two prior starts, running second in the Hannon Memorial after breaking the Ascot Park track record three starts ago. Spirit Of St Louis and Robyns Playboy both concede a 10m headstart to Bettathanfast, who drops in class after racing in strong Addington company in Sunday’s race. Memphis Tennessee looks the best of the front markers, after beating Robyns Playboy when running second to Pembrook Playboy in his last start at Ascot Park. The Anderson-Love stable start five more horses at the Tuapeka meeting. Who’s Smokin (race 7), Petrea Bromac (race 8) and Tres Chic (race 11) each look strong eachway chances. Feelin Bettor has his first start for the trainers after his 12th from Michael Purdon’s stable at Oamaru, last weekend. Anderson and Love also line up Bev’s K One, who ran fifth after receiving a nice run in her last start at Winton.

By Jonny Turner    Driver Samantha Ottley pulled off a miraculous win with Bonnie Boy after being jolted out of her sulky and going within millimetres of crashing to Forbury Park track on Thursday night. Ottley was facing the prospect of being thrown out of her cart and amongst a line of oncoming horses when a tightening of runners racing in to the first bend started to flip her cart sideways. As her disaster approached, the Canterbury reinswoman hoped she would somehow be able to avoid what would have been an ugly and terrifying scene. Ottley got her wish, but admitted she had no idea quite what saved her. “I don’t really know how I got back in, it happens quick.” “I am sore on my side, so I must have really strained to get back in.” “But let’s just say I am really pleased that I did.” After avoiding catastrophe, winning race 4 was not at the forefront of Ottley’s mind. Instead, she was calming her nerves, which had just been fully tested. “At the time I got back in the cart and around the first bend I was taking some deep breathes and thought OK, I’m safe now.” Once Ottley and Bonnie Boy composed themselves it was not long before they were heading around the field to take the lead from the favourites To Ri Caitlin and Mark Hurrell. Though it did not seem like the front was there for the taking, a fired up Bonnie Boy soon made sure it was “The front wasn’t really there, but the horse latched on and I got up next to Mark,” Ottley said. “I was hoping he would get a neck in front and then start to relax.” “But the horse had other ideas.” “He has won his other two races in front, so he does love it out there bowling along.” A homestraight battle loomed for Bonnie Boy as he turned the corner with the To Ri Caitlin ready to come off his back and pounce. But the 7yr-old dug deep to pull off the most incredible of comeback victories. Bonnie Boy is trained by Anne-Marie Best, who is in the process of moving her stables from Fairhall, near Blenheim, to Canterbury. Ottley had a much smoother trip towards victory when taking out the first race back at Forbury Park since it had its doors shut and then reopened for racing last night. With a number of runners going off stride, Ottley and The Good Doctor were left clear in the lead throughout race 1. The pair eventually went on to win the 2200m maiden trot untested by six and three-quarter lengths. Ottley made it a winning treble at Forbury Park when The Peaky Blinder took out race 7 by a nose. The reinswoman drives the favourite for Friday night’s $150,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million Two-Year-Old Fillies Pace at Addington in La Rosa. The filly produced a powerful win in maiden company last week with trainer Mark Jones in the sulky. Ottley expected Jones would drive La Rosa in tonight’s race, but he insisted she take the reins. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    It will be as if nothing has changed if trainer Graeme Anderson’s colours are seen in the winner’s circle at Forbury Park on Thursday. The strike-rate trainer was regularly winning races at Forbury Park meetings until racing at the venue was halted earlier this year when the track’s future was in doubt. After a reprieve, racing will be back at Forbury Park on Thursday and Anderson will be, too. And though his set up has changed slightly – having new training partner Mike Love alongside him – the sight of the Westwood Beach horseman bringing a strong team to the track has certainly not. The Anderson-Love combination’s biggest chance on their return to Forbury Park comes in race 8 with American Lightning. The 3yr-old looks a class most above his rivals in the 2200m event. The only concern for his trainers heading in to the race is that the horse has not been sighted publicly since winning at Oamaru more than six weeks ago. “Everything is good with him,” Anderson said. “They are older horses he is racing and I haven’t been able to get a trial or anything in to him.” “But he has had a lot of miles in to his legs.” “He seems well and I am happy enough with him without having to have knocked him around lately.” Safely through his Forbury Park outing could head to a heat of the Sires Stakes Series at Addington. Anderson and Love will start Bev’s K One for the first time from their stable in race 7. The 4yr-old should find the race easier than some of her previous clashes with some of last season’s best 3yr-old trotters. “She trialled nicely at Oamaru a couple of weeks ago, I was happy with her,” Anderson said. “She has taken a bit of work, but I think she has enough ability.” “She would be a chance if she did everything right.” Bev’s K One clashes with, Cody Banner from Rikki Allen’s Katiki Beach stable, who Anderson part-owns. Cody Banner looks a serious player in Thursday night’s race after he unwound strongly from the rear of the field in his last start at Winton. Who’s Smokin will be out to improve on her last start last placing at Winton in race 6. Anderson hopes the mare can get a more economical run than in her last outing when she starts from barrier 2 in a junior driver’s event for Ellie Barron. “She was probably a bit flat last time, she followed them around and got caught three-wide.” “From that draw on Thursday night she could cross the horse inside her and get a nice run.” “She has freshened up quite nicely.” “It would be nice to see her get a quiet run for once in her life, rather than having to be doing the work.” Petrea Bromac starts the night for Anderson and Love’s four strong team at Forbury Park in race 5. The 4yr-old ran her best race in three starts for the stable when coming from off the speed to run second at Winton. Anderson hopes Love, who jumps in the sulky behind the mare for the first time, can bring Petrea Bromac in to the picture at the right time from her barrier 8 draw. “She has got a bad draw, so she will have to go back at the start.” “She doesn’t need to do too much early, which has been happening in her last two starts.”” “She went really good for us when she sat back and ran home well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Harness racing in Otago is under a cloud, with rumors circulating around the possibility Forbury Park may have lost all or a number of racing meetings when a new draft racing calendar is released within the next week. The Covid-19 pandemic has already seen Forbury lose it's winter meetings and leaks from RITA suggest it is about to lose most of the racing dates that were pencilled in for the new season. Several industry participants Harnesslink spoke to all said that nothing was set in concrete on the dates yet and the leaked information was just a draft of a draft. There was still a chance Forbury would retain meetings, with talks being held today to finalise details.  Drastic cost cutting by RITA to slash 30% of it's workforce, has already seen most of the TAB trackside team decimated with no on course presenters to be at race meetings in the near future. Craig Thompson (The Whale) and Michael Guerin, well known drivers of turnover for harness racing have been let go with a number of commentators now also out of a job.   Harnesslink Media

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