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The first of the tote races for the 2015-2106 season for the two year old trotters was held at Addington Raceway this evening and provided a great spectacle as the first four home all showed enough on the night to suggest that we are in for some great contests as the harness racing season progresses. Custodian from barrier eight left the gate with the mobile for driver David Butt and was in front after 200 metres and proceeded to set a hectic pace in front. The well supported Habibi Inta with Blair Orange in the cart was slow off the gate and settled sixth in the running early while Regal Love and Tim Williams ended up in the open in the running line when things settled down after the start. David Butt kept Custodian rolling in front, putting half a dozen lengths between himself and the field as they went past the 800 metres mark. Tim Williams and Regal Love were the first to make a move to close the gap on the tearaway leader and Habibi Inta quickly got onto Regal Love's back as they passed the 400 metres. These three were joined on the point of the turn by Miracle Rising with trainer / driver Gavin Smith in the bike who had been four back on the inner and these four drew away from the rest. Custodian was still in front 100 metres out but his earlier exertions started to catch up with him and he was claimed by both Habibi Inta and Miracle Rising with 50 metres to go with Habibi Inta holding a neck advantage over Miracle Rising at  the finishing line with a game Custodian a close up third just in front of an equally game Regal Love who had dragged the field up to the leader. The winners time for the 1950 metres from the mobile was a smart 2:26.6, a mile rate of 2:00.9 with closing sectionals of 60.2 and 30.7 Trainer Paul Nairn was happy that his charge did everything right at his first race start. " I told Blair he had never been behind the mobile before and to not rush him early which is why he was so far behind them early on." " I knew he was good enough to win the race but I was more concerned that he did everything right at his first start to help build up his confidence." " I think I will give him his next start in the two year old trot at Methven on the grass as a lead into the 2 year old Trotting Stakes at the end of March at Addington as he handles the grass really well," Paul told Harnesslink this evening. Gavin Smith had a huge smile on his face after the run of Miracle Rising to grab second on debut. " I couldn't have been happier with my horse's run." " He is not switched on as yet to what racings all about but he has got an awful lot of natural ability. " I thought he was too big to make a two year old but he is proving me wrong." " He is beautifully gaited and has great manners and going forward there is so much improvement in him that it is scary," Gavin said. Throw in Custodian and Regal Love who lost no admirers with their game runs tonight and the two year old trotting ranks look to be especially strong this year. Harnesslink Media  

Twelve months ago leading harness racing trainer/driver Gavin Smith was seriously thinking about giving the training side of the industry away. His team was constantly having problems and not performing on raceday and Gavin was at his wits end trying to get on top of the issues. Fast forward twelve months and Gavin's team is flying and he is on track to have his best season in the bike since he started as a junior driver. " The move to Ohoka has been great and from day one there the team has been on the improve." " I have plenty of young ones coming through as well so things are looking really good for the future," Gavin told Harnesslink last night. In the course of that conversation, the chances of Gavin's trainee Tangos Delight in the $40,000 Premier Mares Championship at Addington Raceway came up and Gavin was surprisingly bullish about her chances. " There is no The Orange Agent or Fight For Glory involved and I think with the right run she can get a bit of it," was Gavin's view pre race. Away well from barrier four, Gavin quickly slotted Tangos Delight into the trail behind Lightning Mach and Dexter Dunn and put the mare to sleep. Mid race attacks by Democrat Party and Rocker Band split the field up from the 800 metres and passing the 500 metres mark Gavin was able to move off the inner and onto the back of Democrat Party. Democrat Party mastered Rocker Band 150 metres out but at that point Gavin angled Tangos Delight into the clear and she quickly swooped on by for a decisive win. It was an inch perfect drive by Gavin which got the reward it deserved. The daughter of Bettor's Delight paced the 1950 metres in a very quick 2:20, a mile rate of 1:55.5 with closing sectionals of 56.3 and 28.9 and last nights win took her lifetime earnings over the $73,000 mark. " Since Cup day this mare has been going super every start." " In her last five starts she should have won a couple of them but she has had no luck at all and the driver stuffed it up a couple of times as well." " She can follow speed all day and she is lethal with one run at them like that," Gavin said. Gavin is just thankful that he still has the mare in his barn. " The plan with Ronnie (owner) earlier in the season was to try to win a race with her before having her served but she has been racing that well we had a change of plans." " The way she is going I don't think she is finished yet," That was the biggest stakes race ($40,000) that I have trained the winner of so that was a big thrill as well," Gavin said. The Gavin Smith barn has been firing on all cylinders all season as the UDR of 3237 shows and it there are no signs of it slowing down at this stage. Harnesslink Media    

Everybody on course on the first day of the Westport harness racing Christmas meeting was told that one horse that wouldn't get beaten was Chuck Norris from the Gavin Smith barn. Consequently,the three year old son of Shark Gesture started out a very warm favourite but after being slow away and pushed back midrace, Chuck Norris finished on well late to run an okay eighth. That run didn't deter the punters at all with Chuck Norris being sent out a very warm favourite again on day two but this time he raced up to expectations. Away quickly from barrier one for driver Gavin Smith, Chuck Norris was headed briefly by Buffy Bay after 250 metres but Gavin quickly took Chuck Norris back around to the lead. Allowed to get away with a couple of easy sectionals mid race, Gavin pushed the go button at the 400 metres and Chuck Norris sprinted home in 28.3 on the grass which left him a comfortable winner. Gavin bred Chuck Norris from the Live Or Die mare Bree Van De Kamp in a year where he sent three mares to Shark Gesture. One of the resultant three foals he sold to Perth for $80,000, one went amiss while Chuck Norris is the third of them. Gavin has taken his time with Chuck Norris. “I liked him when I broke him in but he was such a big weak horse,I turned him out for nine months.” “He has really improved after that big break and I thought he could win one over here.” “He is very green and inexperienced.” “I was having trouble getting him up on the bit during the running today but when I pulled the hood on the corner he tore into it.” “Just past the post when a few horses closed on him, he grabbed the bit and took off and it took me half the back straight to pull him up." “We will go to Nelson now and then I might give him a break unless he gets sold.” “I think another break shortly will do him the world of good and longterm I think he will develop into a very handy horse,” Gavin said. The win today continued the great season Gavin is having and he is now firmly established in the upper echolons of our driving ranks.  Harnesslink Media  

It is that time of year when all the juveniles are starting to appear at harness racing trials and workouts and pundits such as Harnesslink are trying to find that extra smart two year old amongst the multitude of trialists. As we reported from the Cup trials earlier this year, we thought we saw a special talent in More The Better that day and nothing we have seen since has changed our mind about that. More The Better makes his debut at Auckland on Friday night in the first heat of the Young Gun series and they will know he is there for sure. Not a lot of the other southern trialists have really stood up and taken our eye to date but one that did make us sit up and take notice was Red Moon Rising at the Rangiora workouts on Tuesday. The colt by Artsplace was bred by Cavalla Bloodstock and was sold at last years New Zealand Premier Yearling sale for $38,000 to Gavin Smith. " I was very surprised I was able to buy him for that." " I was really taken by him as he is such a beautiful type of horse and I thought he would make a $100,000 being bred the way he is." " However for some reason being by Artsplace seemed to put people off him," Gavin told Harnesslink this week . The price was a bit of a surprise to to us as well as Red Moon Rising would have to rate as one of the best bred two year olds in the country. A son of Artsplace, his dam is the imported daughter of The Big Dog in Sirius Flight who won all her five lifetime starts and took a mark of 1:54.4. At stud Sirius Flight has already produced the very talented Timeless Perfection 1:56.9 (7 wins from 13 starts) and the outstanding Malak Uswaad 1:49.2 ($542,585) so she has made a great start as a broodmare. The grand dam of  Red Moon Rising is the former champion New Zealand filly Pacific Flight 1:51.2 ($562,345) who after dominating the New Zealand scene as a three year old, was sold to North America where she starred against the very best mares up there. Pacific Flight has left five winners to date including the very talented two and three year old Droppinthehammer 1:50.1 ($373,027) who ran third in both the $1,125,000 Metro Pace and the $500,000 Hoosier Cup. So this family is as good as it gets and we thought Red Moon Rising on breeding and type looked to be a horse with serious potential. Trainer Gavin Smith has taken his time with the two year old colt but thinks Red Moon Rising has the potential to be an elite level age group horse. " I have a lot of time for Red Moon Rising and think he could make a lovely late two year old." " He is such a laid  back horse and not a naturally zippy two year old like a lot of them are." " For that reason we thought we would miss the Young Guns Series with him and concentrate on some of the bigger races later in the season that are over a bit more ground," Gavin said. Red Moon Rising was having just his second look at a racetrack on Tuesday at Rangiora when he won his heat with a fair degree of authority. His closing sectionals of 57.8 and 28.6 without being asked for a serious effort were a pointer to his natural ability. " I put the blinds on him the other day which really sharpened him up from the week before and he won Tuesday's heat with a lot in hand."  " He has such a lot of bottom to him and I think he will make a great stayer later on." " He can have two weeks in the paddock now and then come back and get ready for the big two year old races later in the season," Gavin said. On his progress to date Red Moon Rising appears capable of making his mark in the feature two year old races this season. Harnesslink Media

Bereft of any real luck through cup week, The Royal Garden turned around his poor fortunes at Methven on Sunday courtesy of another Gavin Smith "special." After beginning brilliantly from his 10m handicap, The Royal Garden soon became awkwardly positioned four back on the rails. With a strong tempo set up front by John and stablemte Return To Sender, there were limited moves in the race and coming to the home turn luck and good judgement would be a major factor in any success. After initially pushing off the rails as they turned for home, Gavin reassessed his options again working for an inside run. The astute reinsman would once again be rewarded for good judgement as runs appeared up the long Methven straight. As the lead runners tired inside the last 150m the gap appeared and the the 5yr old Mach Three gelding charged through to win going away by 3/4 length in 3.08.2 for the 2400m stand. This was his 5th win from 18 starts for owners, T W J Patterson, K E Patterson, M T Patterson, M J Ward, M T Wojtas. With nearly $36,000 in the bank, he has done a great job. With his stand start manners generally able to be used to good effect, he should be an easy horse to place for his summer assignments. Reproduced with permission of Robert Dunn Racing Stables    -   Check site here

While she has been a work in progress in many respects, it was great to see Cullens First Meddle finally rewarded for consistency at Addington Raceway on Friday night. A 4yr old Christian Cullen mare, Cullens First Meddle is the 5th foal out of the good racemare Make A Meddle (64 starts, 7 wins, 14 placings, $50,259) that was also trained by the stable. While she has been up for almost five months in her current campaign, Cullens First Meddle seems to be getting better, the longer that campaign goes. It was a last start 6th in the Futurity final on Show Day that gave driver Gavin Smith a lot of confidence heading into the race. "That was a pretty sharp field and they broke 3.11," said Gavin. "This was a big dropback to be honest and I thought that if we ran them along again she would have most struggling." After running even sectionals throughout, Cullens First Meddle had most off the bit a long way out. Running home in 800m 58.0 and 400m 28.6, she was a convincing winner at the line in 3.11.7 for the 2600m trip. "It didn't feel like we were running that quick," said Gavin, "but that track is so fast now they are running these times a fair bit." The win was a fitting reward for her breeders Warwick and Una Sparks, who have had a long association with the Robert Dunn stable over many years. The Sparks' have successfully bred and raced a number of "Meddle" horses including: Lionel's Meddle -  14 wins, Mahjac Meddle - 7 wins and Mr Meddle - 4 wins. There must have been times with this mare that they were despairing of ever getting a win, but with the convincing nature of her maiden win, she may have really turned a corner. "She lacks that real kick that you need," said Gavin, "but she can follow speed all day." "If they only walk there's no point sitting back on her, she's got to be up there dictating the pace, or outside the leader keeping that pressure on." While she will need a break at some point, she is clearly thriving and doing all the right things at present. Mike Drury Robert Dunn Racing Stables   -    Check site here

While his last win was 11 months ago and he had had 21 starts since then, former northerner Mach Cruiser looks another bargain buy for the Westview syndications after a convincing win in Sundays feature at Motukarara. Formerly trained by Doug Gale in the north, Westview principal Nigel Armstrong recieved an offer to buy the the Mach Three 8yr old by mate and North Canterbury horseman Gavin Smith about three months ago. The bonus was that the horse had been in full work for awhile and was at workouts and trials in early October. He showed with a couple of good trial runs that he could be the type of horse that would be easy to place in Country Cups races over the summer. Going into today's race, Mach Cruiser had had three starts for two 7ths and a 9th. On paper hardly a startling formline, however, for those that had watched the cup day run for 7th, today's $31 dividend looked a tasty prospect. In his cup day assignment he ran home to be beaten 12 lengths by an impressive Maverick, his own time in running 7th a once unheard of 3.10.8. After breaking early on in his Show Day race, Mach Cruiser lost all chance in what was his dropback race to C3. However, based on what he was showing at home, there was a quiet optimism from the stable about his chances today. After stepping brilliantly for driver Gavin Smith he enjoyed a nice trip in the one-one for the first half of the race. However, the three wide train came into play down the backstraight and coming to the turn his chances looked forlorn as he was third last and caught in traffic. It was well into the straight that Gavin finally managed to find some clear air and the horse let down in style wide out. He eventually managed to haul in Dana Duke in the shadows of the post, getting up for victory by a head in 3.41.3 for the 2810m. This was the 8th win from 62 starts for Mach Cruiser taking his stake-earnings to $44,098. More importantly though, this was the first win for his new owners, the Westview Racing No 14 syndicate. Talking to Nigel after the race he indicated that there were many first time owners in the syndicate, with 21 new to racing owners in the horse. It was fitting that the man doing the driving today was Gavin, the same man that initially suggested to Nigel that this would be a horse worth having a crack with. Well done to all concerned and I am sure that there will be more grass track assignments to have a crack at as the summer progresses. Mike Drury Robert Dunn Racing Stables    -    Check site here

When harness racing trainer Gavin Smith went to the 2014 New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch, he had marked off all the lots he wanted to inspect based on their pedigree. While there he saw Lot 68, a filly named Scarlett Banner walk through the parade ring and although she wasn't marked in his catalogue, she really took his eye. " She was a great walker and had a real presence about her." " I went around and inspected her and couldn't fault her." " There was bits of her pedigree I didn't like but the individual herself was superb." " When she came into the sales ring I got a bit caught up in the moment and was pretty determined to buy her and went to $28,000 to secure her," Gavin told Harnesslink yesterday. Gavin then went about syndicating the Bettors Delight filly amongst his owners but only managed to sell 60% to them, leaving him with 40%. " I am pretty happy these days to have kept 40% the way she is going," Gavin said. Impressing Gavin from the time he started to break her in, Scarlett Banner was going good enough to line up in the two year old trials last season, winning one at Addington and being placed behind Northern Velocity in another. " I lined her up in a Sires Stakes heat at Timaru and she ran fifth but I was pretty disappointed on the day." "I got a blood done and it was out everywhere" " I thought then that if she could run fifth when so out of sorts, that she would be really competitive when 100% right." " I thought then that the best thing for Scarlett Banner was to give her a decent break and let her get over her blood issues before racing her again," Brought up slowly through the winter, Scarlett Banner had a couple of workouts/trials to ready her for her raceday resumption. That happened last Friday night at Addington Raceway where she came from four back on the inner to run a smart second in her return to the track. Lining up last night in one of the $23,500 Alabar Super Series Finals, Scarlett Banner looked a bit out of her depth against the race hardened Franco Cristiano, Zenmach and company but she surprised everybody when getting up right on the line to win the race. " She got a lovely run and I went at the right time." " I think the others got a bit tired late and came back to here rather than she ran past them" " Still a hell of an effort to beat that field at just her second start for the season and third lifetime." " There is a huge amount of improvement in her yet and I think she will measure up to the better ones later in the season," Gavin said. One thing Gavin is sure of is that Scarlett Banner is a smart trotter in the making when she has reached her mark pacing. " If you try to canter her, she just trots and you can't break her up." " She has trotted time at home as well and she seems to be happier doing it." " I think whatever she does as a pacer, she will equal or better as a trotter," Gavin said.  The Gavin Smith barn is going great guns at the moment and Scarlett Banner may just be that flagbearer that the stable has been looking for. Harnesslink Media

Gavin Smith was the big winner in the results, but the wind was just as dominant at the harness racing meeting at Timaru on Sunday. Forecast gusts arrived just before the running of the first and really got going as the horses were heading out onto the track for race four. Commentator Matt Cross described the wind as brutal as it lashed the Phar Lap Raceway. Race four started more than seven minutes late because of debris blowing around the track and there was more than an hour gap between races four and five as the meeting was delayed due to extreme winds. There were some question marks around whether the meeting would proceed because of poor visibility as dust and debris made it almost impossible to see the opposite side of the track. Due to the strength of the winds, the mobile gate was not used for the remainder of the mobile starts with rolling starts in operation for safety reasons after the delay. Smith started the day's wins with a front running drive on hot pot Wrongly Accused for Phil Burrows and used similar tactics in the following race with the Sam Smolenski trained Don Pierre. Smith went on to cap a near perfect day by driving his own runners October Rain and Tangos Delight to victory. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ  -  Check site here

One of the highlights of winter harness racing in the Canterbury region this year was the run enjoyed by the barn of Gavin Smith. Hardly a week went by without the North Canterbury horseman winning a race with one of his stable and the barn has carried that form into the new season. Yesterday at Oamaru Raceway the stable produced two winners and went within a half head of making it three.  First up was October Rain in the junior drivers event in the hands of Matt Anderson. After settling back early, October Rain was still last at the 800 metres mark before Matt looped the field down the back straight four and five wide and then October Rain dug in and showed a fair degree of fight to hold off the challengers in the straight. Gavin has always known that the mare had more than her fair share of ability. " She had a stifle operation at two which wasn't that successful and it still affects her." " She is better fresh but I thought she might just be a run short today so to race like she did surprised me a bit. " The motor has always been there but the stifle issues have held her back although she does seem a bit better this time in." " She is tentatively booked to be served this spring and race on in foal before being retired," Gavin said. The other winner for the barn was the well travelled Tango's Delight. Away well for Gavin Smith, Tangos Delight sat in the trail and watched as Boomer Bailey and Reklaw Supreme went to war in front of him. Aware that both runners had used a lot of petrol early, Gavin eased Tangos Delight out into the running line at the 900 metres to sit on Reklaw Supreme's wheel. When Gavin said go at the top of the straight, Tangos Delight sprinted away for an easy win by over two lengths. As Gavin had indicated earlier in the week on the Harnesslink ringaround, he thought Tangos Delight was his best winning chance of the weekend. " She got hurt up north nearly a year ago and the owner Ronnie Dawe let me have a go at getting her back to the track." " Her fitness has been improving with each run and I thought she would be hard to beat today." " With the run she got early it played right into our hands really." " She is another one that is heading to the broodmare paddock this spring," Gavin said. Gavin almost tore off a treble with his runner in the last Incredible Anvil going under by just half a head. While his team is going great at the moment, Gavin is really looking forward to the next few weeks with a group of horses hitting the workouts this week. " It is the nicest group of young horses I have ever had and I am quite excited about a few of them." " If a couple make the step up, then the stable could be in for some really exciting times," Gavin said. If his recent results are anything to go by then his next batch of runners could signal the breakthrough that all young trainers look for. Harnesslink Media      

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones has had to make “that” phone call to owner Grant Hatton following a devastating setback to top pacer Saveapatrol. Not only is the lightly-raced star out of today’s Hannon and November’s New Zealand Cup, but his future is uncertain after sustaining a tendon tear high up in his superficial tendon. “It is the worst phone call to make to Grant (Hatton) and the worst part about training horses, but is part of the job and can happen anytime to anyone,” Mark said. “I know all the time and effort, especially Regan (Todd), myself and my staff, have put into him. We did everything we could to keep him sound,” he said. The tear is in the same leg he sustained an injury previously. “But last time it was a deep digital tendon so its a completely different injury and so gutting,” Mark said. Saveapatrol, the big gelded son of Christian Cullen and Rondel Franco, will have the tendon scanned next week. “At this stage, our only option looks like doing an operation and give him a decent break, so he’ll be out for at least six months,” Mark said. “I just have to hope we get him back to the races.” “The vet didn’t give us much hope of racing him again but I am confident with the right rehab and all the work Regan puts into looking after him that we will get him back racing.” The injury is extremely frustrating, after Saveapatrol had a precautionary operaton and a year off following an Auckland Cup third in the hope of preserving his long-term race future. “It only happens to the good horses,” Mark said. “I have no doubts he was a serious winning chance in the New Zealand Cup.” “Both Grant (Hatton) and I may never get another horse as good as him, so we will put everything we can into getting him back to the races.” Saveapatrol resumed in late June, winning the Thames Cup second-up in early July, then had to be freshened again with a foot infection. He stepped out with a nose win from the trail at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday (last 800m in 55.5s), pleasing in preparation for a scheduled Hannon return. The 6YO has raced only 18 times for 11 wins, a second, and a third, earning $145,618 in stakes. Jeff Scott Reproduced with the permission of Mark Jones Racing Stables  - Check site here

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

Harness racing trainer Sam Smolenski is a newcomer to the training ranks in New Zealand but it hasn't taken him long to chalk up his first training win. Last night in the maiden 1950 mobile trot at Addington Raceway, Sam had two runners and both were well supported in the market. Paris Princess and Gleneleven were both given a big rap by Sam when he spoke to Harnesslink earlier on Friday. Sam thought they were both in the right shape to win if things went their way but found it hard to favour one over the other. As the gate went, Gavin Smith sent Paris Princess forward with purpose but it took him nearly 400 metres to grab the lead from Dragon Sun. Gleneleven in the meantime had gone off stride out wide and took little further part in proceedings. After the early burn, Gavin was able to button off the speed with Paris Princess and got away with a couple of cheap quarters. The warm favourite Cuddly Jess with Jonny Cox in the bike had worked forward to the death seat outside Paris Princess with a lap to travel and it was clear a long way from home that these two would fight out the finish. Paris Princess started to really up  the tempo from the 500 metres mark and although Cuddly Jess stayed with her, Paris Princess had her covered in the home straight. Paris Princess trotted the 1950 metres in 2:30.5 with closing sectionals of 60 and 28.8. One group who were more than happy with the result was the TAB who had taken several large four figure bets on Cuddly Jess. Training trotters is a specialized part of harness racing but Sam's mentor Fred Fletcher has long been recognized as one of the best exponents at it in New Zealand and Sam seems set to follow in his footsteps. Harnesslink Media  

One of the newest harness racing trainers on the New Zealand scene is Sam Smolenski who to date has only lined up three runners since taking out  a trainers license late last season. On Friday night at  Addington Raceway, Sam has two runners engaged in the maiden mobile trot over 1950 metres. Paris Princess, to be driven by Gavin Smith has drawn nicely at barrier five and although the form line may look a bit bleak, there is no doubting the ability. The daughter of Diedre Don won a recent trial at Ashburton over 2400 metres in a smart 3:08.9 with terrific closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.7 and if she was to bring that form to Addington tonight she would be incredibly hard to hold out. Sams other runner is Gleneleven who has drawn barrier seven and is to be driven by Blair Orange. A smart second on debut, Gleneleven looked out of sorts at his next start at Rangiora in the slush last Sunday, breaking early and again in the home straight which ended up in him being disqualified. With the aid of the mobile the son of Monkey Bones rates as a big winning chance tonight. Sam found it hard to separate the pair when speaking to Harnesslink earlier today. " I am expecting a big run from both of them tonight and there is not that much between them at this stage." " Paris Princess will really appreciate the mobile." " She just doesn't concentrate when in standing starts but she will be fine behind the mobile and I would be surprised if she galloped tonight." " Gleneleven had an issue in his neck at Rangiora, getting on one rein the whole way and that is why he broke." " I have had him treated post race and his work this week has been great so I am expecting him to go a big race tonight." "Long term I think Gleneleven will be the better of the two horses and I think he will go a fair way," Sam said. With any kind of luck, Sam looks a big chance to have his first winner as a trainer in race 1 at Addington tonight. Harnesslink Media

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

Tonight's harness racing meeting at Addington was winter racing, Canterbury style. In other words, rain and a strong cold southerly were present most of the evening which had its effect on a lot of runners. One who seemed to relish the conditions was the three year old son of Love You in Great Things Happen who won like a really nice horse after doing plenty of work. Settling back from his second line draw for trainer/driver Gavin Smith, Great Things Happen was five back in the running line when hot favourite Harriet Of Mot galloped with a lap to go when challenging for the lead. Once back trotting John Dunn sent Harriet Of Mot forward again and reached the lead with 700 metres to go. Gavin followed the daughter of Monarchy forward and sat on her wheel from the 700 metres mark. These two knuckled down to it from the 400 metres mark and half way up the straight Great Things Happen grabbed the lead and ran away for a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths victory from a very game Harriet of Mot with Everybody Knows finishing on well late for third. Great Things Happen trotted the 1950 metres in the cold slushy conditions in 2:30.2, a mile rate of 2:03.9 with closing sectionals of 60.3 and 29. Gavin Smith knew he had just got a bit lucky with Harriot Of Mot breaking. " If she hadn't broken I don't think we would have beaten her. " In saying that Great Things Happen is a very nice horse in his own right and has a big future," Gavin said.  Passed in at the 2013 New Zealand Premier yearling sale for $27,500, Great Things Happen is a son of Love You from the former smart imported daughter of S J's Photo in Calamity Gal who won seven races and $92,255 in New Zealand. Offered a half share to train him by his vendor Ted Edwards after he failed to make his reserve, Gavin accepted immediately but not for the reason you would expect. " My daughter Hayley was born the morning of the sales and when I got offered a share in a horse called Great Things Happen the same day, I just had to take it." " I didn't like him when I broke him in and was starting to have some doubts." " However the next time in he was a different horse and hasn't looked back since." " He is very immature and after tonight he is going out for a big spell. " Once he strengthens up and matures I think he will go right to the top level. " He has really high speed and I have a big opinion of him," Gavin said. As progeny of Love You get better with age, Great Things Happen would look to have a big future in front of him. Harnesslink Media  

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