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He only had one runner at Gore today in Soapbox but that was enough for Findlay Road trainer Murray Brown to reach a milestone of 500 harness racing winners. Brown, who's in his thirty fourth season of training, won his first race with Mike Adios at Invercargill on September 22nd 1984. So his 500th winner came almost 34 years to the day later. He began his career with Henry Skinner; an association that started while Brown was playing rugby for Central Pirates. "Henry and Alan Devery and John Hay who trained at Ryal Bush used to come down and watch the rugby. We ended up with horses with Henry. I was at the works (Freezing Works) and used to go and help him in the off-season. I then went over to Bryce's (Bryce Buchanan) when he broke his leg. Henry and Bryce signed my form to get a training licence," said Brown. He initially rented boxes at what is now Wayne Adam's property but then bought his current stable off Stewart Barlow.  His best season came in 2012 when his horses won thirty two races. His UDR that season was .2792 and stable runners won $138,917. He's the second Southland trainer to join the elite 500 club. Hamish Hunter was the first, two seasons ago.  "It's pretty hard to do. There's only Hamish and I. We've had some good trainers down here but we've probably had more opportunities."    Brown has won the Southland Trainers Premiership seven times: 1998, 1999, 2000 (jointly with Tony Barron), 2001, 2002, 2006 (shared with Hamish Hunter) and 2012.   He named his best horse as Beaudiene Bad Babe which won the Group Two Caduceus Club of Canterbury Premier Mares Championship twice (2010 and 2011). She also won the 2010 Nevele R Stud Four Year Old Diamond at Cambridge and the 2009 Group Two Macca Lodge/Nevele R Southland Oaks Final. In all she won twenty two races. Another group winner for Brown was Hemisphere which won the Group Three Nevele R Two Year Fillies Mobile at Addington in 2008. He's won numerous cups in the Southland region including the Wairio Cup three times; Hebe Gebe (1997), Loch Nagar (2008) and Beaudiene Bad Babe (2009). He also won the time honoured Hannon Memorial with Freeway Don in 1999.  Brown's best winners list include: Beaudiene Bad Babe (22) Freeway Don (11) Awesum Teddy (10) Highview Jude (9)  Rimesaut (8) Mister Dale (8) Absolutely Brilliant (8) The Receptionist (6) Blue Jay Way (6) Rakanra (6) Loch Nagar (6) Bali Mystic (6) Mister PB (5) Titan Bloss (5) Hebe Gebe (5) Tahlia Jaccka (5) Padraig (5)  Murray Brown (left) with the Tricode Racing Syndicate Number Two - Photo Bruce Stewart. Back to today's winner Soapbox. She got a dream trip in the trail and ran along the passing lane to beat a game Franco Huntington by half a neck. A desperately unlucky No More Change ran third. Soapbox is raced by the Tricode Racing Syndicate Number Two. It was the Santanna Blue Chip mare's second win from thirty starts.      Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Burnham trainer Mark Jones rarely heads south without a horse ready to win and a plan to be executed. The Bus driven by Samantha Ottley duly won for Jones today and I suspect the plan may be to line up in a special maiden initiative introduced by Southern Harness this season  - a $12,000 Nugget Mobile Pace Final at the Northern Southland meeting on 7th October. The Bus is now qualified for this race and the conditions of the series allow him to carry on winning in the meantime. Jones is also a fan of the Northern Southland Club and has been a sponsor for a few seasons. All horses that start between today's Gore meeting and the end of September in non-win races and accumulate enough points will be eligible to start in the final.  And Jones's plan could also extend to getting early points on the board for the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in April.  In today's race Ottley eased the three year old into his stride from a tricky second line draw. She moved The Bus out with 1800 metres to run but was beaten to the jump by a fast move from Clark Barron driving Some Excusesomewhere. Ottley got onto the back of the Barron runner and was taken forward with cover. With just under a lap to run The Bus had taken up the running from the favourite Black Ops.  The Bus held on to win by three quarters of a length from Black Ops with Benio Ben another length and three quarters back in third. The Bus beating Black Ops                               - Photo Bruce Stewart. "He was a wee bit too smart today which he had to be from the draw. But he had to get round them. He did it quite comfortably but actually knocked off at the end. He still had a bit there (at the finish). It's his first trip down here and there looks to be a bit of improvement in him," said Ottley after the run. Last season The Bus raced in the Young Gun Series in Auckland against the likes of Alta Maestro and Spankem.  He resumed this season at Addington last Friday night.  "I was really pleased with his run at Addington the other night. I know it was only fifth but it was a good fifth. He was nice and relaxed today because he can go the other way." The three year old Art Major colt is raced by loyal stable client Grant Hatton. He's out of the Falcon Seelster mare Rondel Franco which won thirty seven races in a career that included racing in New Zealand, Canada and America. Hatton raced The Bus's half brother Saveapatrol which won eleven races including the first ever Northern Southland TC Futurity in 2013.     Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

It hasn't been the best of times recently for Gore harness racing trainer Syd Breen. Five weeks ago he lost an old mate when the Flashing Red gelding Flashing On, winner of four races, had to be put down wih a twisted bowel. "It was gut wrenching. I saw him every day and he was just a big awesome horse. He was just full on nonsense around the place but as soon as you put the cart on he was just all business," said Breen. Although the whole experience is still pretty raw the win today by another stable runner Lorretta Franco would have gone some way in healing the hurt.  She's a product of Spreydon Lodge and Breen has had the Changeover mare since April when she came down for the Winton meeting. Today from barrier three driver Matty Williamson powered Lorretta Franco off the gate and took her straight to the front. Turning in for the run home Williamson still had a handful of horse. He looked over his shoulder and promptly pinched a nice break. The five year old mare held on to win easily by two and a half lengths from a fast finishing Shawami Lass. Lorretta Franco winning with Matty Williamson               - Photo Bruce Stewart.  "She's a wee tradesman who can pull a bit. We've been lucky that we've got a few good draws. We've tried a few different bits on her and I think she'll learn to relax again. She was a ready made racehorse when she got here and a great doer who loves being in work." Lorretta Franco is raced by the Organ Donations Save Lives Syndicate along with The Flashing On Syndicate who were transferred into the ownership recently along with Breen, Ross Cleland and long time stable helper Stevie Heads. Going into today's race there was a certain amount of confidence.  "I told the Organ Donation syndicate that I thought she could win. It's not very often that I label them. She can win another race and still start in the Nuggets Final in October (Northern Southland Meeting on 7th October). It's a great idea." Breen is only working a small team but two of his stable stars Santanna's Rocket and Sagwitch are progressing well.  "I'm pretty happy with Santanna's Rocket. He's thickened up through the girth and he's a strong horse now. He was a bit immature last season. Sagwitch won three races last year and not many three year olds do that. His coats taken a wee while. I've always had a bit of time for him and I think he's a horse that will just get better and better. They both really wintered well and they were only out for six weeks. Get Real is going through his paces. The money's so good for these maiden pacers now. He's only a kick in the bum away from winning a race."   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Gore harness racing fixed odds movers as at 10:30am Race 1 - Scarlett Lane $2.50 & Svelt $4.50 are joint leading multi betting with Svelt best backed on the win 'book'.   Race 2 - Trendy's Bad Girl $14.00 & The Red Barron $12.00 lead win betting with a Smart Excuse $2.50 easily leading multi betting.   Race 3 - Sam Galleon $1.85 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 4 - Lorretta Franco $2.30 just leads multi betting over Shawami Lass $4.00.   Race 5 - Nomattermee $5.00 - $3.50 easily leads win betting.    Race 6 - Black Ops has been well backed & is into $2.50 after opening at $4.00 with the largest bet $1,000 at $2.50.   Race 7 - The big mover here is Hurricane Banner $14.00 - $8.20 with Vera's Delight $3.10 leading multi betting.   Race 8 - Crime Scene $9.50 - $6.00 is best backed on the win 'book' with Tas Man Bromac $1.35 easily leading multi betting.   Race 9 - One Direction $9.00 - $8.20 leads win betting over Rocking Robyn $6.50 & Idealistic Lass $11.50.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

This week racing starts to hot up again with the Southland harness racing season kicking in on Sunday.. Last week was a quiet week but the ringaround still produced a couple of winners and several placegetters The best winning dividend was Run Boy Run at Kurow who payed $2.50 to win on the tote. There are three meetings programed this week with Addington on Thursday night, Auckland Friday night and Gore on Sunday.   Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in, so check back often   Addington on Thursday night Mark Jones - Mark is opting for Rocknroll Nevin as his best hope this week at Addington in Race 1 Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard says that Glengarry Rose would be an eachway chance in Race 3 Gavin Smith - Gavin is going for Matau Gem as his best chance this week also in Race 3 Jim Curtin - Jim thinks that Van Laddie would be his best chance this week in Race 4 Blair Orange - Blair is going for Idle Moose as his best drive this week at Addington in Race 5 Ricky May - Ricky thinks his best drive this week would be Rockaball at Addington in Race 7 Terry Chmiel - Terry is opting for Martin John as his best chance tonight in Race 9   Alexandra Park on Friday night Todd Macfarlane -  Todd is going for Banner Of Art this week as his best chance in Race 1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Steve thinks Royal Lincoln can win this race for David Butcher in Race 2 Harnesslink Reporter - says My Generation can go close to winning at Alexandra Park also in Race 2 Jay Abernethy - Jay says He's Like The Wind is his best chance this week at Alex Park in Race 3 John Curtin - John thinks No Doctor Needed is a good winning chance fresh up in Race 9   Gore on Sunday Brent Barclay - Brent is going for Scarlett Lane as his best drive this week in Race 1 Andrew Suddaby - Andrew thinks his best drive would be Highview Justice at Gore in Race 2 Brad Williamson - Brad says his best drive this week is Sam Galleon on Sunday in Race 3 Racechat - Lance thinks Loretta Franco is a good winning chance at Gore in Race 4 Shane Walkinshaw - Shane thinks his bestd rive this week is Shawami Lass also in Race 4 Sheree Tomlinson - Sheree is going for No More Change as her best drive this week in Race 5 Matthew Williamson - Matthew says his best drive this week would be Martin McGuinness in Race 7 Nathan Williamson - Nathan thinks his best drive this week is Tas Man Bromac in Race 8 Craig Ferguson - Craig is going for Rocking Robyn as his best chance this week in Race 9 Geoff Knight - Geoff says his best chance this week is Idealistic Lass at Gore also in Race 9 Kirk Larsen - Kirk thinks his best chance this week is Arthur Lowe at Gore also in Race 9   Harnesslink Media

There's a good buzz around the Nathan Williamson stable as he prepares a large team for the new season from his Branxholme headquarters. There's a mixture of new blood and an established line-up in the stable for the coming season and part of his 'early' team will be out at workouts, trials and races in the next few weeks.  The first horse to appear will be Williamson's most highly assessed pacer Tas Man Bromac. He only raced three times last season and his progress was hindered by a number of issues.  "He's wintered well. I gave him a break after the Bluff Cup and he's freshened nicely. He got dehydrated going up to Kaikoura. I was getting him ready for the Cup races like the Roxburgh Cup and he pulled a muscle in his hind quarter and that sidelined him for a large part of the season. He'll go to Gore (Sunday) without a workout or trial so he's bound to improve from the run. In the grade he's in, he should be pretty competitive," Williamson said. The six year old American Ideal gelding comes back with a R90 rating. From twenty nine starts he's won nine races. Another pacer that had limited track time last season was Statham. He only lined up five times with his best performance being at his first start of the season when he finished second to Glenferrie Classic in the Cromwell Cup.  "He won't race at Gore but will trial next week. He had a bit of a viral infection which curtailed his season. The infection was a hard one to track down. He's had plenty of work." He too has been lightly raced, only lining up twenty one times in three seasons - winning six races.  Another promising gelding by American Ideal, Foo Fighter, is also in work. He's currently being jogged by part-owner John Earl at his Oporo Flat farm.  "He'll be back here in the first week of September. He was the same as Statham. He had something deep down in his lungs which we couldn't see with a scope. We've given him a good break and treated him and hopefully he'll bounce back this season."  Promising filly Excellent hasn't returned to the stable yet but she's not too far away. The Somebeachsomewhere three year old did most of her racing in Auckland last season, running second in a heat of the Sires Stakes Two Year Old Fillies Series.  "She ran a real good second first time up there and then she got crook. She's come back home and she's back jogging at the beach with Murray Little (owner)." As you'd expect there's a good number of trotters in the barn, including recently named 'Southland Horse of the Year' Dark Horse (Bacardi Lindy), and also Poppymalda. Both have been nominated for the Hara's Des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap.  "She (Poppymalda by Armbro Invasion) didn't really get a break. We've freshened her after her Forbury win and she'll be back at the races in September whereas Dark Horse won't be back until October."  Another former stable runner De Vito is also nominated for the Dominion.   "We had him nominated for the Rowe Cup but he ended up getting an abcess in his foot which must have been brewing for some time. He's still spelling in Auckland because we haven't been able to transport him home. He'll probably do his training in Auckland."  Another trotter back on the active list is Grey Power. The eight year old by Monkey Bones was last sighted at Gore nearly eighteen months ago. Ash, a four year old half brother to Larix, Given and Larch by The Pres hasn't returned to the stable yet. He's owned by Williamson's wife Katie along with Ben and Karen Calder.   "He's still spelling. We took him up to Christchurch for a bit of a trip, we hope that'll be the making of him next year. He's a wee bit physically immature (but) he's quite a talented trotter so we're happy with him." Some of the jog team at the Williamson stable                  Photo Bruce Stewart.  The stable also appears to have a handful of handy three year olds. Triroyale Brigade which started three times as a two year old last season is back in work. He was placed behind the likes of Ashley Lopez, Sicario and All U Need Is Faith. That form stacks up pretty well when you look at the races and stakes those three Purdon/Rassmussen horses have since won. Another three year old colt Williamson has some time for is Franco Santino. He's a three year old by Christian Cullen out of the ten win mare San Rafaella (Western Ideal). He was purchased for $55,000 by stable client Neville Cleaver at the 2016 Sale of the Stars  "We'll qualify him in the next month to six weeks and work out a plan for him." One to watch out for down the track is an unregistered two year old colt.   "I bred a Sundon out of Little Contessa. Dad lent her to me (the mare) for the season. He's a two year old now and Dad was in love with him so I think he was wishing he bred from her that year."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Racing for the first time since December 2015, starting from 30 metres behind and winning the Abernethy Contracting Ltd Trot by head - it was as if Poppymalda had never been away. Two years ago, on her way to finishing third in the Jewels at Ashburton, the now six year old had been successful in the equivalent race. Poppymalda was later sidelined by a tendon injury in her right (off) hind leg and her trainer Nathan Williamson has been patient during her recovery. Nothing will change. “She had a pretty hard run first up, she'll have an easy few days now, I want to see how she has come through this before making any decision about her,” Williamson advised. Box Seat viewers must have unloaded on Six Diamonds who was labelled by the panel as one of the best for the weekend and paid only $1.90 and $1.30 in the Osborne Rock Supplies Mobile. A Tuapeka Lodge-bred four year old, he is raced by Lindsay and Ian Thomson and was having just his 14th start. The American Ideal gelding is trained by Alister Black who said a virus had interrupted his career this season and took a while to clear up. Six Diamonds led out, trailed, took the passing lane and won comfortably to add a mobile start success to his earlier two stand-start wins. Black confirmed circumstances, rather than lack of ability or disliking for mobile starts accounted for his previous lack of wins from that mode. The influence of good mare On Patrol continued at Gore on Saturday when Two Ply justified her recent entries in the black book by taking the Advance Agriculture Mobile Pace. In a decade and a half of breeding, the daughter of Lordship produced On Leave (three wins), Soky's Patrol (seven wins in Australia), Holmes Patrol (three in Australia), On Sky (five from 10 in New Zealand before her sale to the United States), On The Double (10), Lord Patrol (11) and Final Patrol (one). Two Ply's dam is On The Double by Holmes Hanover, who raced for four seasons and was successful in each of them with her last win the 2017 Northern Southland Autumn Cup. On The Double is also the dam of Wick who won five for her South Otago owner and breeder Ian Bennett before being sold to the United States. Winton trainer Des Baynes and the Eight Proof Syndicate continued a successful combination when Ideal Breeze took the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile 2200 for non-winner mares and fillies at just her third start. “She got a good draw and (driver) Brendon (McLellan)gave her a nice trip, she'll strengthen more and next season should be suited by the mares' races, she sprints well,” Baynes said of the three year old. The syndicate previously raced Soky's Proof, a descendant of Tactics and grand-dam of Ideal Breeze, from the stable of Brendon Scobie. She left Beth's Boy, seven wins for Baynes and the syndicate before her sale to the United States in 2010, and Windproof, the winner of two. The winning run of Wyndham brothers Gordon and Colin Lee continued with the victory of Lynette The Vet in the Gore New World Trot. “She's a nice trotter with good manners and a good gait, she needs a nice trip and got it today,” Gordon Lee said. Previously trained by Murray Edmonds, the mare by Raffaello Ambrosio from Accelerando Del was bred and is raced Neil Manson from Little River on the Banks Peninsula. The High Achiever's win in the Fiona Scobbie of Bayleys Gore and Fiber Fresh Mobile was the right tonic for Ross Ludemann, who heard about it in his bed at Dunedin Hospital. A Tapanui farmer, Ross, his wife Bev and sons Simon and Geoff bred and race the three year old son of Bettor's Delight who is trained by Brett Gray. He is a half brother to the winners Lively Hero, The Highlight and The High Roller. Elusive Flight was the only runner claimed in the Regional Ford Gore and PGG Wrightson Claimers. The winner of seven was picked up for $5000 by Graeme Anderson and returns to the stable he raced from between April and October last year and recorded two wins, four seconds and three thirds. The Elsu eight year old only managed seventh on Saturday in a race won by Nerve Of Steel, having his first start for Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders and not wanted for $3000. Nerve Of Steel was driven Dexter Dunn in the second on the day's card. It was his only winner with a second and two thirds the biggest returns from his other 10 drives. Blair Orange with Clover Lady and The Best Christian was the only reinsman to win two. Mac Henry  

Browns harness racing trainer Des Baynes has been training horses for the Eight Proof Syndicate for a while now and the partnership proved successful again when Ideal Breeze won at Gore today. The syndicate's last winner was Ideal Breeze's dam Windproof which won her second race at Forbury Park in October 2010. She injured a leg which put an end to her racing career.   "She (Ideal Breeze) brushes her knees a bit but I think she'll come out of that next year. She's a lovely wee thing to work with and I'm real pleased for the syndicate that owns her. We'll probably start her at Winton next week on her home track and then put her aside for next year," said Baynes who has trained 125 winners since taking up a licence in 1980. The American Ideal filly was given a perfect trip by Brendon McLellan tucked away three back on the inside. The gaps opened halfway down the straight and Ideal Breeze shot through to beat Country Grammer and two year old Repartee. Ideal Breeze and Brendon McLellan winning easily - Photo Bruce Stewart It was noticeable that Ideal Breeze was on the job today with McLellan having a tight grip on the filly's reins when warming her up.  "She's just been getting on the job a wee bit lately and I knew the false start today wouldn't help. As soon as she leaves the gate she just relaxes. I think that's just a maturity thing."   As a broodmare Windproof has left Gabby's Delight, which has had one win for Alan Paisley.     Bruce Stewart Southland harness Racing  

Edendale harness racing trainer Craig Laurenson has been training for South Otago owner Ian Bennett for eighteen years with Bennett providing Laurenson with his first win; Zapp, at the Tuapeka meeting in November 1999. The partnership produced another winner today at Gore when Two Ply won the Advance Agriculture Limited Mobile Pace.  Laurenson went to school with Bennett's children and the relationship developed from there. "He always came out to the farm. His father actually trained a few horses part time at one stage. I helped him get started. Zapp was the first horse I gave him. He won four races for me and went to America. I've been pretty loyal ever since," said Bennett.   Today was start number thirty two for Two Ply.  "He's finally starting to understand what racing is all about now. Craig always knew he had ability it's just been a long time coming out. I remember seeing him run as a two year old at the trials and he showed real speed that day. He never showed it much until he won at Winton. He showed it again about four starts ago. He's finally come to it in his last half a dozen starts."  Driver Brad Williamson settled Two Ply five back on the inside running line. Inside the last lap he managed to get him off the inside. Then approaching the 800 metres he moved out three wide and followed up Night March. At the top of the straight he was challenging out wide and ran down Night March to win by half a length. Two Ply and Brad Williamson beating Night March on the inside - Photo Bruce Stewart "In his first ten starts he was on the unruly. He finally sneaked one (a win) this time last year. The whole family are late maturing. They don't really start to race until they're late three year olds." Of the seventy two winners Laurenson has now trained, thirty six have been owned by Bennett. Their best winners have been On The Double (10), Lord Patrol (5), On Sky (5) and Zapp (4)   Bennett is still an active breeder with On The Double, her full sister Lady Patrol and Clifton Beauty still being bred from. "The best one out of her (On The Double) has been Wick who has now won eight or nine races in America." Wick won five races for Wyndham trainer Brendon McLellan.  Maximan is another good horse the Bennett/Laurenson partnership developed. He was out of Clifton Beauty and won three races for Laurenson before he was bought by Jim Curtin.  "When we sold him he had about eight seconds in a row. We then sold him to Jimmy and he won the Westport and Reefton Cups then he sold him on to Aussie." He's won a further nine races in Australia and has a lifetime record of 60-18-10-7 $220,129 (1-53.0 AUS).  Bruce Stewart Southland harness Racing  

Gore harness racing fixed odds movers as at 9:50am Race 1 - Kiwi Crusher $14 leads win betting with King Cassidy $4.80 leading multi betting.    Race 2- Nerve Of Steel $3.00 leads win betting over Seduce Me $5.50.   Race 3 - Justasip $5.50 leads win betting with Ellnbac $3.50 leading multi betting.   Race 4 - Ideal Breeze $7.00 is best backed in win betting over Firstjoy $23 with Flying $3.50 leading multi betting.   Race 5 - Jody Direen $2.30 easily leadsw in & multi betting.    Race 6 - Mokosun $9.50 leads win betting.    Race 7 - The Night Hawk $2.20 easily leads multi betting with The Best Christian $3.80 best backed on the win book.   Race 8 - The only runner wanted here is Six Diamonds $2.20 - $2.00.    Race 9 - Alderbeck $3.70 is best backed in win betting over Spotlight The Valley $14.   Race 10 - Sefton Hooligan $10.50 leads win betting over Essence Of Easton $18.   Race 11 - It Ain't the Money $2.50 leads multi betting over Bakari $5.50 with that runner best backed early in win betting.   Race 12 - Magicol Delight $4.20 is a loose favourite and leads win and multi betting.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

As he closes in on 200 wins for the sixth time in just 11 seasons of race driving, it goes without saying that the drives of Dexter Dunn are worth following and that is certainly the case in the first quaddie at Gore on Saturday. In the first leg (race two) he'll be on Nerve Of Steel, previously with Stephen Doody and a winner at Manawatu three starts back. The four year old is now with Matt Saunders at Tapanui but was given a workout at Rangiora by Steve Dolan on the way south. Nerve of Steel is third-equal highest rated horse in the mobile 1700 metre claimers and at $3000, has the third equal lowest price. Saunders has always been a dab hand with claimers and the help of Dunn can only enhance that. The two higher rated runners, Jerry Fitz - shooting for win number 13 - and Elusive Flight – third last time in an Addington Claimer – need to go in as well. Dunn is back aboard Justasip in the second leg (race three) and has drawn 10, or two on the second line. Last week she drew 13, was back to the 500, five wide on the turn and finished strongly. She is a member of the team of Peter Hunter who was badly concussed in a fall at Ascot Park on Sunday and a win would be popular. From a good draw, Ellnbac is another chance  Dunn's drive in leg three (race four) is Flying, making her race debut. Previously with Geoff Dunn, the filly trailled the leader in a three horse qualifying at Rangiora in January and ran home well, clocking better than a two minute rate for the 2000 metres trip. Dexter Dunn drove the trial winner. Flying has since been acquired by Macca Lodge and is trained by Brent McIntyre. From the draw, the talented Ideal Breeze is also accorded a chance. After enjoying a good trip at Forbury Park, Lis Amore finished it off well and can't be ignored, while Brent White is down from Temuka with Tanya Dana. The filly hasn't raced since September but trialled over a mile at Ashburton on 22 April and looked good running second in a tick over 1:59. Dunn is reunited with Jody Direen in the last leg (race five). After a year away from the track the filly resumed last week. She flew home from three back on the inner but was held up just long enough to fail by a neck. The consistent Peter Hunter-trained Bold Ruler as usual promises to give plenty of cheek while First Son is made of sturdy stuff and could pop-up despite a difficult draw. It would be easy to dismiss the Regan Todd rep She's A Flyin after her failure last week but with a sought after one marble this time, she is capable of bouncing back and needs to go in. Dunn's best all day could well be Bakari, prepared by Graeme Anderson and the winner of three from 12. In her most recent outing, at Forbury Park on 13 April, Bakari worked early to find the lead with two laps to run and was still there on straightening. Although giving in to Jimmy Mack in the run home, the three year old fought well for second. Best at value might be The Best Christian who will be handled by Blair Orange. The Canterbury visitor is trained by Nigel Grath and went out seventh favourite last week. After trailling 3 back on the inner, the colt was carted back before the turn. Once clear, he sprinted along the poles for sixth. A better run on Sunday should be all he needs. Mac Henry

The Brent Shirley trained, Nathan Williamson driven Costa Del Magnifico added to his harness racing 'cups record' when he won the McDowell Painting and Decorating Gore Grass Track Cup. His time of 3-20.4 was a new race and track record beating the old record of 3-27.6 recorded by Titian Banner which won last years Cup. With 1200 metres to run Dexter Dunn took second favourite Sovereign Banner to the lead and Williamson sent Costa Del Magnifico forward shortly after. By the 900 metres he'd hit the lead and from there he won untouched, by two lengths from Acolyte. The last 800 metres was run in 57. 7 and last 400 in 28.7. Impressive on a grass track.  He has now won the Gore Grass Cup, Northern Southland Summer Cup, Southern Country Cups Final, Invercargill Cup, Wairio and Winton Cups. Today's win was his twelfth in thirty five starts.  The track today at Gore was lightning fast with six track records being broken. They were as follows: Eamon McGuire: 2-15.3 over 1800 metres mobile for three year old colts and geldings. The old record of 2-19.4 was held by Fiery Ferret. Sheezus 2-18 .6 over 1800 metres mobile for three year old fillies. The old record of 2-29.0 was held by Canderdal . Envious 2-17.0 over 1800 metres mobile for mares. Old record - 2-21.5 was held by Vera's Delight. Costa Del Magnifico 3-20.4 for the 2600 open stand. Previous record of 3-27.6 was held by Titian Banner. Explosive Star 3-30.6 for the 2600 metres open stand for trotters. The record was held by Ottawa at 3-33.0. 2600 metre stand for trotting mares. The new record is now 3-33.3 claimed by Delestic. The old record of 3-44.4 was held by Chiola Belle.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Sheezus provided local harness racing breeders Macca Lodge with an early breeding double at Gore today. Trained by Tony Stratford on the course for his sister's father in-law Pete Hughan from Wellington, the Panspacificflight filly in the hands of Dexter Dunn proved too good for a large maiden field of fillies and mares. Her winning margin was a length and a quarter and her time of 2-18.6 broke the three year old fillies track record of 2-29.0 previously held by Canderdel. Sheezus and Dexter Dunn (white and green colours)   - Photo Bruce Stewart. "I've always like her. When Mach Of The Man who was owned by Pete was getting to a stage when he was reaching his mark we got this filly," said Stratford. Despite her win today Stratford is conscious of not over racing the filly and waiting for her to develop into a four year old.  "If we don't overdo her this time round she could develop into quite a handy mare. At the end of the day she's probably not up to those better three year old fillies. In time though she could develop into a Southern Belle Speed Series mare. Sh's got good gas."  In the previous race the Macca Lodge bred Tangled Up In Blue won for Macca Lodge owner/trainer Brent McIntyre. Both horses are by Panspacificflight.  Meanwhile Stratford's former stable star Pulp Fiction notched up his first win in Australia last night when he won at Menangle.  "It was good to see him go to the line well like he did a lot of times down here. He went down to the line without being touched in 1-51 so that was great. I think a couple of times over there they've over driven him but in his last couple of runs they've been more positive especially when last week he came from last and ran third in 1-50."  Stratford says Pulp Fiction's previous owners have set aside some money to buy at next weeks sales but short term are enjoying racing the promising Bettor's Delight gelding Lilac Flash.    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Trotter Delestic has spent a few days in Gore recently as harness racing trainer Nathan Williamson looks to get some 'trotting miles' into the Majestic Son mare. He's bought her to the workouts, trials or races three times in the last ten days just to give her practice. From the unruly mark on the second row Delestic today began slowly but safely while her main rival and favourite Jaccka Josh galloped away. Ultimately that proved to be the difference between the two in the Hokonui Honda Trot. Delestics' winning margin at the end of the 2600 metres was two lengths.  Delestic winning easily at Gore on the grass surface           - photo Bruce Stewart      "She trotted good at the workouts and we were confident that if she showed her manners she'd go well. She's got a fair amount of ability but manners are her biggest issue," said Williamson.  The four year old was having her fifth race day start and she's been in the top three favourites in all her career starts. Her owner Ian Hunter was on-course to see her run today, taking a short break from a local bowls tournament.  Meanwhile her talented half sister Splash Cola who went amiss again recently, is due to start work again. "Hopefully  she won't go amiss this time. It was one of those wee niggly things that have been the story of her life. She's got a fair bit of ability and is right up there with horses like Dark Horse."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Brett Gray looks a trainer to follow at Gore on Sunday with good chances in six of the 11 races at the grass track fixture. In the Hokonui Honda Trot, he lines up the first starter Jaccka Josh, full brother to Jocy Jaccka and half to Jaccka Jack and Dominion winner Jaccka Justy. The three year old won a workout on the grass at Gore by four lengths last Saturday. “He's a nice horse and has the ability but the start is still a question mark,” Gray said. Northview Betta contests the Robyn's Treasure Mobile for the Butterworth Racing Syndicate. Twice a winner last season, he has had his issues this time in but a sound workout last week was a pointer to better things. “We've had a bit of a problem with his feet so we've been to the beach a few times and it has helped,” Gray reported, “he's a winning chance.” The well-related Way To Go contests the Aon Insurance Trot on the back of a bold third at Wyndham. “Way To Go is getting closer, I've been quite happy with him and its not an overly strong field,” was Gray's assessment. Gray will have two going around in the Van De Water Jewellers Mobile and both have difficult draws in a strong C1 lineup. Pavarotti, who goes from two on the second line, resumed in solid fashion for second at Wyndham. “He was encouraging last start, its wait and see now how he will handle the grass.” El Capitan goes from six on the second line and takes a one from one record into the race.  “It will be the first go on the grass for El Capitan, he's a chance but it is a big step-up from C0 to C1.” The day's feature is the McDowell Painting Gore Grass Cup and Gray's rep will be the consistent Mighty Flying Deal. The four year has raced on grass before and was given a refresher at Gore last week, finishing second to raceday opponent The Big Boss. “I was happy with his workout at Gore last Saturday, he handled the grass well.” Last on the day is the Keep It Clean Mobile and it is shaping like a match race between Eamon Maguire and the Gray rep Jimmy Mack. A winner on Invercargill Cup day, Jimmy Mack was given a look at the Gore grass last week when a half-head second to Leah Mac over 1800 metres. He goes from three on the second line of Sunday. “I really like him,” Gray said, “he hasn't got the best draw but he's quite tough and has good stamina.” Mac Henry

The Williamson family looks poised to play a major role at the Gore fixture on Tuesday, particularly in the three trotting races on the card. Trainer Phil has two in the first, the Kevin Campbell Farrier Trot, with Brad taking the drive on Jeddy R Ya Ready and Matthew on the debut runner Zoey's Gift. Jeddy R Ya Ready was competitive in fields no stronger than this during a two year old campaign and should have no difficulty measuring up here. Zoey's Gift is the daughter of group one trotter Jasmyn's Gift and qualified at Oamaru over 2500 metres in 3:17.0, after getting out to a long lead and holding out the talk-horse for Winton - stablemate Davey Mac. Phil's sole rep in the Norman Family Trot, fourth on the card, is Astral Ruler who will find winning tough from unruly-6 over only 2200 metres on the 1000 metre track. However, his win in a junior drivers race at Winton was solid and it was a C1 and C2 trot. His assessment has remained C1 and it is a C1 race solely this week. Matthew drives Astral Ruler while Brad drives Alderbeck for Phil in race six, the Ward & Sinclair Trot. The combination finished second in the slush at Ascot Park on Trans Tasman drivers day, soundly beaten by De Vito who is in the field again this week. De Vito, who joined Nathan Williamson during the off-season, was powerful in his win at Invercargill a month ago with Nathan aboard and he takes the reins again. Making the difference is the pair started off the front that day. De Vito gives Alderbeck 30 metres on Tuesday. Alderbeck has since won a 2600 metre trial at Oamaru in 3:25.9. De Vito trialled at Invercargill during the week and was hard held finishing second in a slowly run 2200 metres. The day's feature is the Mataura Licensing Trust Gore Trotting Cup and Nathan renews his association with local star Captain Dolmio. He has had just two previous drives on the C5-assessed five year old for a win at Invercargill and a second behind Mr Mojito at Addington on Cup day. Captain Dolmio's most recent public appearance was in a workout at Wyndham about a fortnight ago, against the likes of race-rival The Big Boss. There was little between the pair after 2400 metres cut out in 3:02.8, home in 56.6. In the last, the Arden Lodge Mobile for male non-winners, Mathew gets aboard Royal Bengal again. The Christian Cullen colt from the family of Brahmaputra first came to prominence when qualifying at Gore in August, the day the camera didn't turn up to film the action. His two raceday starts have resulted in second placings. One on the second line following out A Smart Excuse, doesn't look a bad draw. In other races Manuka Valley - in race two the P Jones and M Officer Sponsors of Gore Harness Racing Club Pace, It Ain't the Money - in race three the DLF Seeds Mobile, Angel In White - in race seven the Panspacificflight at Macca Lodge Mobile, and Milehigh Magic - in the ninth the McKeown Group Pace, need to be considered. HRNZ

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