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The forgotten horse A G's White Socks burst back into form tonight winning the second pacers heat of ID19 at Alexandra Park. Now in the stable of harness racing trainer Barry Purdon, A G's White Socks (Rock N Roll Heaven) delivered a punishing finish from back in midfield to grab a deserved and timely win in the hands of ace reinsman Maurice McKendry. "He is such a lovely going horse and has a great gait. He was nice and relaxed in the running," McKendry said after the race. "When he came out at the turn he was a bit awkward but he straightened up and just buried them," he said. The time for the winner was 2-36.1, a mile rate of 1-54.2. The last 800m was run in 55.6 Cruz Bromac the New Zealand Cup winner battled on well for second after working hard mid race and Thefixer ran home well for third.   Harnesslink Media

Winterfell has taken out the second heat of the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship after he narrowly beat the TAB harness racing favourite Marcoola in a fantastic finish with only a head and nose separating the first three home. Driver Mark Purdon put the Majestic Son gelding into the race with a lap to go and he held too many guns for the opposition in the straight narrowly holding on for the win. "I had a few hairy moments early with him, but he stayed on his feet thank goodness and after that he really put his best foot forward," Mark Purdon said after the race. Purdon turned the last 800m of the race into a staying contest by attacking the leader Tough Monarch over the last 800m,finally getting the better of that horse at the 400m. "He was starting to get keener and keener and I thought well it is no good having him beat himself and I let him run and cross the horse on the inside," Purdon said. The last 800m was cut out in a slick 55.5 seconds making it very hard for horses at the back to make ground. "He did sprint hard down the back and that took it's toll near the finish," said Mark. The winning time for the 2200m was 2-41.5 which represented a mile rate of 1-58.1.   Harnesslink Media

Ultimate Sniper has produced a huge performance to take out the first pacing heat of the Inter Dominions (The Group 3 IRT Inter Dominion Pacing Heat 1) in the hands of Natalie Rasmussen for the All Stars Harness Racing Stables. It was a big effort to win for Ultimate Sniper when he was forced to go back early after settling wide off the mobile arm.  "He certainly had no favours in the run," said driver Natalie Rasmussen "I thought it would pan out a bit like that, but then I had to get near them. I knew I could not come too wide on the final bend. He is so tough, so it is a credit to the horse, he ran a super race." "I think he will just get better through the series" Natalie said after the race. Ultimate Sniper set a new New Zealand record of 2-35.43 for the 2200m mobile when winning.  That represented a sizzling mile rate of 1-53.6 with a final 800m in 55.6 and a last 400m in 27.5 seconds. Chase Auckland provided a quinella for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen when holding on for second after attempting to lead all the way and Mach Shard ran home well for third.   Harnesslink Media

The John and Joshua Dickie trained Paramount King has provided a $28 harness racing upset in the first Inter Dominion trotting heat at Alexandra Park tonight. Paramount King had a cosy sit three deep on the fence in the running, while the early leader Big Jack Hammer set a record pace in front. When the gaps came in the straight Paramount King was still travelling well and had too much speed for his opposition blasting through the middle and cruising to the line to win by more than a length at the line. Massive Metro put up a big run for second after a slow beginning and the early leader Big Jack Hammer held on well for third. The hot favourite Habibi Inta was disappointing after getting back in the running he only beat a few home. Paramount King trotted the 2200m Mobile in a new New Zealand record of 2-40.41 beating the old record by close to a second.   Harnesslink Media

By Garrick Knight    A false start didn’t aid her one iota but Fanny Hill still managed to win the mid-grade trot on the opening night of the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park. The Oamaru mare, prepared by master trotting trainer Phil Williamson and driven by his son Brad, had to sit parked the last mile to get the win, but did it comfortably. Superstar-in-waiting Tickle Me Pink thundered home down the outside for second after starting off a prohibitive 40-metre handicap. But this was Fanny Hill’s night and Brad Williamson reckoned it took all her will power to be on her best behavior. “She was bloody nervous after that false start; wasn’t calm or settled at all round at the start. “But once we went away, she got a good run early and then relaxed well parked. “So, I was happy to sit there the last lap.” It was her first look at Alexandra Park and Williamson reported she took to it like a duck to water and that bodes well for upcoming assignments. “She got her heart rate up and is having a good blow. Seems to get around the bends better this way too. “She’s lowly-graded and that’s a big bonus.” Just how far she’ll go remains to be seen but you would expect her to get close to open company with the team behind her and an elite sire. “She has quite a bit of speed; is a real fast wee mare. “Probably lacks a bit of real stamina despite what she did tonight, though.” The understated Tony Herlihy was very happy with the run of Tickle Me Pink, fresh up since her excellent Harness Jewels win back in June. “She’s gone super,” he said, which, in Herlihy-speak, is about as good as it gets. Outsider Saint Michel battled on well for third at bolter’s odds, rewarding trifecta punters. For Brad Williamson, the victory also marked his 300th in the sulky in New Zealand, his first, behind Graceandtemika, at Gore in 2012. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    It’s no surprise that Sheree Tomlinson isn’t bothered by nerves ahead of the Inter Dominion Trotters series, which starts in Auckland tonight. The Christchurch 21-year-old is the only junior driver taking part in the time-honoured series and she ‘s driving the $3.20 series favourite, Marcoola so you could forgive her for being overawed. But Tomlinson isn’t your ordinary junior driver. She’s already an Australasian champion amongst her junior peers and she won arguably the country’s biggest trotting race, the Dominion, aged just 19, two years ago. So, despite having taking on the country’s elite drivers like Tony Herlihy, Blair Orange, David Butcher, Anthony Butt and Mark Purdon tonight, she’s pretty chill. In fact, when HRNZ spoke to her, she was tired after driving all the way to Dunedin on Thursday afternoon and was more focused on her two drives at Forbury Park last night. “The nerves are pretty good actually; not too bad at all. It might be different on the night before I go out there though.” Don’t confuse that approach with apathy though – Tomlinson is acutely aware of the occasion and the privileged position she is in. “You can’t take drives like this for granted. “Most drivers dream their whole lives about driving in open class races and for many it doesn’t happen. “I’m so fortunate to have been given this opportunity.” It’s been an interesting partnership between Tomlinson and Marcoola so far. They first combined at Addington when running a close second to Oscar Bonavena at Addington in early October before smashing Marcoola’s own New Zealand mile record with a demolition job in the Ashburton Flying Stakes. Next it was the Dominion where both horse and driver sought their second race win, but first together. Marcoola went out second favourite behind Oscar Bonavena but ended up running fourth after setting up the second-fastest time in history. Tomlinson defends the drive, quite rightly pointing out that to beat the favourite, they would have had to go that quick. “I feel like if Oscar Bonavena hadn’t galloped, we would have run that time anyway. But I didn’t know he was out of the race “I didn’t want to move as early as I did, but I was at risk of getting stuck behind horses that were well beaten on the Tuesday. “The last thing I wanted was to be buried five or six back on the fence.” Marcoola got a bit excited in front and at the end of two miles, his racing keenly caught up with him. “He probably over-raced a bit in front. I didn’t really want to be there over two miles but that’s how it worked out. “I think if you reversed the two runs of him and the winner, the result would have gone the other way.” That race is behind them and now the Inter Dominion has dawned for a fresh start. Marcoola has joined Barry Purdon and all reports are that he has settled in well. “Barry has been keeping mum updated and says he’s quite happy with him. “He’s not being too much of a stallion and is behaving himself. “Barry drove him in fast work Wednesday and was really happy.” Marcoola has drawn gate 1 and the main speed threat on the front line in Credit Master has been scratched, so he looks certain to get an uncontested lead. Bookies have him at $1.70 and most judges rate that as good shopping. “I’ll just play it by ear out of the gate. He’ll let me know because he likes to do his own thing. “Over the shorter distance he can tough it out in front but I also wouldn’t be afraid to trail a horse like Tough Monarch. “If I have to take a trail, I won’t be stressing.” No surprises there, either. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The men in the case are Mark Jones and Benny Hill, co-trainers of exciting filly Stylish Memphis. And the plan was to keep her at home for a $22,000 Sires Stakes Series heat at Addington tonight against inferior opposition to what she would meet in the next heat, in Auckland next Friday. But that’s come unstuck somewhat with the daughter of Bettor’s Delight drawing the outside barrier draw over the sprint trip this week. “We’ve done it on purpose to try and qualify her down here because the field up north will be pretty hot,” said Jones. “If she’s good enough, she’s good enough; the wide draw is a concern but she’s got good gate speed and high tactical speed.” The $150,000 Final is at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve and Stylish Memphis will go north for it if she can run in the first three tonight. She resumed with a fortuitous win at Wyndham nearly three weeks ago, though Jones felt she could have been better. “She probably should have won by more, but seemed to knock off when she hit the front.” Since then, a workout run at Rangiora, where she flashed home late in quick time, impressed Jones and told him she was on track. Despite the wide draw, bookies opened her a $2.70 equal favourite alongside Sugar Loaf, who was mightily impressive winning her debut on New Zealand Cup day for Robert Dunn. “Sugar Loaf has got the raps, and Nigel McGrath’s one (Miss Graceful) looks an exciting filly in the making, too. “But all things being equal, I’d go my one to beat them if she races up to her ability.” The expectations are high with Stylish Memphis, a full sister to multiple Group 1-placed filly-turned-mare, Delightful Memphis, who is now racing in America. “I actually think she’s got more sheer speed and a touch more brilliance than her sister, but Delightful Memphis probably wasn’t appreciated as much as she should have been. “She was in a crop with Spanish Armada and Partyon.” The stable also has last-start winner Fancy in the race and she’s drawn mid-front line. “She got her own terms but won well last time. A nice progressive filly that I can see winning four or five races. “We’ll probably look to take her down for the Southland Oaks after this.” Later in the night, Skippys Delight will go around in the $24,000 Sires Stakes Silver, a five-horse affair, and Jones expects better luck than he had in the main final on New Zealand Cup day. “I thought his run in the final was good; he got held up and lost ground but still found the line well. “I know Benny is pretty happy with him.” Stablemate Silent Major has been scratched from the same race after being dealt to Australian interests earlier in the week, as has another from the barn in Philadelphia Freedom. In the last on the card the stable lines up Nirvana Beach and Willison, Jones thinking the latter can win it before heading out for a spell. “He’s come to the end of it but is a Derby type of horse. “Looking for the paddock but I expect he should be able to handle that field. “Nirvana Beach hates Ashburton so best to forget that last run. “He’s got the right draw here and that will help.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Following the scratching of Mc Lovin  from the first round of heats of the series the connections sought advice as to the horse’s eligibility for the remaining heats from the Host Body -HRNZ. Careful consideration was given to this by HRNZ in conjunction with the Inter Dominion Events Committee in line with the conditions of the series. It is the decision of the Host Body that McLovin be grant permission to contest the remaining heats and remain in the series. Advice was taken from the Racing Integrity Unit and the horse has been cleared by that body to complete. The horse has also received veterinary clearance.        There has been precedence during Inter Dominions for horses to complete when scratched from a heat in line with the conditions of those series. Trainer Andy Gath reports that   The horse is virtually back to 100% in himself, perhaps 90%. As quickly as he got sick, he has recovered almost as quickly. It was just unfortunate He ate up last night. His resting heartrate is back to normal and other signs are good. He’ll have a light jog this morning and we’ll fast work him on Sunday or Monday If there’s any doubt about him on Tuesday or he seems out of character we won’t take any chances.   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North American every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound. Melton winners closely related Somewhere Secret and Keayang Secret, who won consecutive races at Melton last Friday night, belong to the same maternal family. Somewhere Secret, a six-year-old Somebeachsomewhere entire, is out of Secret Life (1:58.6), a Safely Kept mare from Lifeline, by Classic Garry from the Windshield Wiper mare Larrakeyah Lady. While Keayang Secret, a six-year-old Always A Virgin mare, is from Feel The Magic (1:59.6), by Fully Loaded from the What’s Next mare Dreams, a half-sister to Lifeline, the grand-dam of Somewhere Secret. Somewhere Secret, who holds a record of 1:53.8, has won six of his 10 starts to date, while Keayang Secret has won nine races, $85,683 and has mile mark of 1:53.2. The Larrakeyah Lady tribe is the fastest moving family of pacers in the Australian stud book. Recent winners from it have been Ride High, winner of the Victorian 4YO and 5YO Championship, My Celebrity, That’s Perfect, Perfect Major and Go In Style. To watch the Somewhere Secret race click here. To watch the Keayang Secret race click here. NZ breds dominate Norm’s Daughter The Group 2 $50,000 Norm’s Daughter Classic, run at Gloucester Park last Friday night, proved a triumph for the NZ breeding industry as four of the first five placegetters were bred in the Shaky Isles. Our Alfie Romeo, the brilliant end-to-end winner, is a five-year-old daughter of the Presidential Ball horse Washington VC and the capable Holmes Hanover mare Holmezy (1:58.5), the dam of earlier winners in Holm Three 1:55.2 ($113,192), a country cups winner in NSW, and Raffy Roo (1:59.8). Arma Indie (by Well Said), Dracarys (by Bettor’s Delight) and Just Rockon Bye (by Christian Cullen), who finished second, third and fifth respectively, were all bred in NZ. To watch this race click here Geelong Cup winner’s background The Somebeachsomewhere six-year-old Phoenix Prince is proving one of the finds of the season in Victoria. He won the Sokyola Sprint in 1:52 at Melton and the Group 2 $60,000 Geelong Pacing Cup in track record time in consecutive starts. Phoenix Prince has not raced a great deal. He did not race at two, and from 27 career starts he has won 15 and been twice placed fort $159,630. To watch the Geelong Pacing Cup click here. A tough customer, Phoenix Prince is a gelding, being by Somebeachsomewhere from Classic Cathy, dam also of useful winners in Real Hammer ($106,572), Goonly (1:53.4) and On Shore. Classic Garry was sired by Classic Garry (a champion Australian bred sire) out of the Lock Up mare Sans Pareil, who left 11 winners from 11 starters including the Group/Listed winners Part Of Glory, Swishinon and Triumph Lad. She figures as the second dam of the good Gloucester Park winner Baggy Pants, a capable Victorian racemare in Fine Glance and Udoit (Tas. 3YO Ch’ship). Sans Pareil was out of Filet Mignon, by U Scott from La Mignon, by Light Brigade from Parisienne, who founded one of Australasia’s most successful classic-winning families. SA yearling sale purchase salutes Three-year-old Sir Roman, who realised the top price of $36,000 at the 2018 Allwood Stud SA Yearling Sale, won on its debut at Globe Derby Park on Saturday night. The free-legger sat parked throughout before scoring in a 1:58.5 rate over 1800 metres. A gelding by Somebeachsomewhere (son of Mach Three), he is out of a classic winner Morgan Abby (1:55.7), who ranked as a half-sister to the NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO champion Its Only Rocknroll 1:50.8 ($374,102). Sir Roman was bred and raised by Benstud Standardbreds, of Katunga (Vic.), who offered him at the Adelaide sale. To watch Sir Roman win click on this link 15th foal a winner Promising Art Major three-year-old Theagenes, who won his second race at Dubbo on Sunday, is the fifteenth and last foal of his dam, the Golden Greek mare Willing Greek. Willing Greek is also the dam of the NSW Breeders Challenge winners Grand Stride 1:52.4 ($324,658) and Sapphire Stride 1:52.2 ($134,115), the Tatlow winner Katasopos, dam of the Paleface Adios Classic winner Copper Coast 1:52.2 ($281,463) and Kalypso, the dam of millionaire pacer and sire Caribbean Blaster. Willing Greek was a Golden Greek mare from the Bathurst Gold Tiara winner Willing Whiz, by Armbro Whiz from Willing Way, by Hilarious Way from the Ringo mare Willing To Go, the dam of the Interdom heat and Fremantle Cup winner Willadios. Theagenes Son of Inter Dominion winner The eight-year-old Gus An Maori, who overcame a 30 metre handicap to win at Horsham recently, is a son of the 2004 Inter Dominion Trotting champion Sumthingaboutmaori By the great Angus Hall, the gelding has won eight races so far and $44,815 in stakes. Sumthingaboutmaori, whose grand-dam Maori Trump and third dam Maori Miss both claimed Broodmare of the Year titles, has thrown only three winners from 12 foals of racing age but her daughters are making an impact at stud. Sumthingaboutmaori ranks as the second dam of Maorisfavouritesun Tr 1:55.1 ($211,718), the Holmfield winner Four Walls (Tr 1:57.7), Agent Maori Tr 1:55.8 ($110,155) and Abitofmagic (Tr 1:59.6), all ‘black type’ square-gaiters. Top priced trotting yearling wins on debut Three-year-old Aldebaran Knox, who sold for an Australian record price of $90,000 at the 2018 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale in Melbourne, was a most impressive winner on debut at Maryborough on Monday. The well grown colt took full advantage of a soft trip to power past his rivals in the home straight, running the last 800 in 59. Bred by Duncan McPherson, Aldebaran Knox is a Muscle Hill colt out of the Sundon mare Kyvalley Aldebaran NZ whose dam, Chiola’s Lass, left the standout trotters Allegro Agitato and Skyvalley, who stands at Aldebaran Park. Since producing Aldebaran Knox in 2016, Kyvalley Aldebaran has left a two-year-old filly by Love You, a yearling filly by Trixton and is carrying a positive test to the Breeders Crown champion Tactical Landing. To watch Aldebaran Knox win click on this link. Sixth on end The NZ bred four-year-old Cool Water Paddy won his sixth race on end in runaway fashion at Hobart last Sunday night. He is by the Christian Cullen horse, Ohoka Arizona, who is now at Bill LeSeuer’s stud near Melbourne. Cool Water Paddy is out of Glentara, by Village Jasper from the NZ Marlborough Cup winner Rose Ayr, by Noodlum from the Smooth Fella mare Montrose (2:02), a daughter of Heathmount, the dam of Classiebawn (NZ Breeders Stakes), a high class pacer in Blair Logie and others. Heathmount was a member of the immediate family of the multiple Group winner Classic Cullen 1:50.8 ($510,125) and the former NZ 3YO of the Year Laud. Exciting USA purchase Dual Victorian Breeder of the Year Bruce Edward, of Durham Park Standardbreds, has secured Faraday Hanover, a royally bred Somebeachsomewhere yearling filly for $US275,000 at the recent Harrisburg sales. This was the second highest price paid for a filly at the auction. Faraday Hanover ranks as a sister to the Little Brown Jug winner Filibuster Hanover 1:48.6 ($1.6 million), being out of the Western Hanover mare Fashion Ecstasy whose dam, Galleria 1:49.2 ($1.8 million) is the dam of the world champion Gallie Bythebeach 1:49 ($749,898). It is planned to race the filly in the US next year before shipping her to Australia. Bathurst sale noms close Dec. 1 A reminder to breeders that entries for the 30th annual Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale close on December 1. Entries can be lodged with auctioneer Graeme Board on phone 0408 636 273 or email gboard@bobberry.com.au or downloading an entry blank at www.graemeboard.com The sale will be held on Sunday, March 22 during the Bathurst Gold Crown carnival. Peter Wharton      

By Jonny Turner    Australian owner Peter O’Shea is not taking anything for granted while in the prime position of racing both favourites for the Interdominion pacing series. O’Shea and wife, Zilla, will be represented in the Alexandra Park series by Cruz Bromac and Bling It On, who will go head to head in an opening round heat on Friday night. Having two of the biggest names in series approaching a $500,000 final is a position harness racing owners across Australasia would dream of. O’Shea admits it is an exciting prospect, but he is not allowing his dreams of Interdominion glory to get too big just yet. “Of course we are excited, but in this game because you have the two favourites it doesn’t mean you can go and get the trophy now.” “You have got to be confident, but you don’t go in there thinking we are going to win the Interdominion.” “Its like any sport, look at the All Blacks, who would have thought England were going to do what they did.” The O’Sheas’ pacing pair have delivered the couple an impressive line up of big race wins with Cruz Bromac’s New Zealand Cup and Bling It On’s Victoria Cup the latest additions to their trophy cabinet. The couple share in the ownership of both horses with a number of other Australian owners. The formula of racing horses with friends has worked for the O’Sheas since their first foray in to harness ownership over a decade ago. Fellow Australian owners Kevin and Kay Seymour invited the couple to invest in the purchase of Mr Feelgood, who gave them incredible introduction to the sport. The former US pacer was the first harness horse the O’Sheas had at the races and he won them an Interdominion title in 2009. That also may sound like a fairytale to many other owners, which O’Shea did not dispute. But the experience of racing Mr Feelgood also provides some of the reasoning for why the O’Sheas are taking a level headed approach to this year’s Interdominions. “Anything can happen,” O’Shea said. “I have had Mr Feelgood get skittled leading in a final, I have had Bling It On sitting with cover in a final and the one in front of him hit the brakes and we ended up at the rear.” “Just because you have got the favourites, it doesn’t mean you are going to get all of the breaks.” Their first experience with Mr Feelgood has also led to the O’Sheas developing a passion for the sport and building a large harness racing bloodstock portfolio. The couple are prominent and successful owners in Australia with a classy broodmare band of 12 alongside thoroughbred interests.  Cruz Bromac and Bling It On will go head to head in the second of two pacing heats at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The question of which of the O’Sheas’ pair could beat the other is an impossible one for the owners to answer. “Its like asking which kid do you favour.” “I couldn’t split them — I would be happy to settle for a dead heat.” “They are both very good horses and is down to what happens on the night.” “One might get a bit of luck and one might get a bit of bad luck.” With Mark Purdon driving Cruz Bromac and Luke McCarthy driving Bling It On, the O’Sheas have two leading drivers that are known for making their own luck. The draws for heat two mean the two reinsman are likely to have to call on all of their skill to put their charges in striking positions. Bling it On will start from barrier 7, with Cruz Bromac starting from barrier 2 on the second row of the mobile.  Bookmakers have done what the O’Sheas have been unable to do leading up to Friday night’s 2200m event. They have rated Bling It On ($2.70) just ahead of Cruz Bromac ($2.80) in betting this week. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

R5, 8.04pm: First Trotting Heat, 2200m mobile.— Tactics will be crucial here because if Habibi Inta (4) runs to the front he should win after the way he destroyed the best trotters in the Dominion. Doesn’t have to lead to win but if he does lead it should be race over. That could put likely first leader Big Jack Hammer (1) in the trail and make him a logical chance while Massive Metro (5) is good enough to capitalise if there is more early pressure than expected, although the scratching of McLovin with a temperature yesterday seems to reduce the likelihood of a mid-race challenge. The blowout place chance is Valloria (4). Suggested bet: Habibi Inta to win.   R6, 8.33pm: First Pacing Heat, 2200m mobile.— Chase Auckland (3) hit peak form during the Cup carnival at Addington and races just as well here. Has decent gate speed on not a fast front line so should get to the marker pegs and have options. Ultimate Sniper (6) is not quite as daunting right-handed but if he leads or gets to control the race he can win but his fixed odds  look unders. Colt Thirty One (8) is a very good Qsld pacer who loves to follow a hot speed and could get that here is fellow Aussie rep San Carlo (5) attacks. Ashley Locaz (2) and even Solid Gold (1) have First4 chances while Our Uncle Sam (11) was brave here last Friday but in weaker company. Suggested bet: Chase Auckland to win, Colt Thirty One small saver.   R7, 9.03pm: Second trotting heat, 2200m mobile.— If the best version of Marcoola (1) turns up he should win. He clipped over a second off the national record for this trip last season and has a stunning sprint record. If he holds the front, and the withdrawal of Credit Master increases his chances of doing that, your only concern is a below-par performance. That scenario would put Majestic Man (9) in a perfect slot to run in the money while Tough Monarch (7) was very good both days at Addington and has enough gate speed to at least have a miracle shot of crossing the favourite. Temporale (5) is a force in this series but might need others roughed up tonight to win. The enigma is Winterfell (11) who isn’t the horse we all hoped he would be but the penny might drop one day. Maybe tonight, maybe never. Suggested bet: Marcoola to win but Majestic Man also a great fixed odds place bet with TAB paying back to fourth for the heats.   R8, 9.40: Second pacing heat, 2200m mobile.— Heat of the night and a lot will depend on whether the NSW pair of Atomic Red (1) and Bling It On (7) play nice or nasty. If Bling It On, a special horse, can run to the front over possible early leader Atomic Red then the race is his to lose. But, and it is a big BUT, if Atomic Red leads and stays there then Thefixer (9) gets a trail and maybe the confidence boosting run he needs after a ho-hum Cup week. If the tempo is fast early (that means a sub-41 opening 600m) then Cruz Bromac (10) is the most likely mid-race mover as he is in the zone. So much will be decided by how fast they pace that opening lap. Suggested bet: You could split bet the two favourites for a percentage profit but if you want one, Bling It On straight out.   By Michael Guerin

Kate Hargreaves is burning the candle at both ends as she looks to make a real go of her harness racing dream. The young horsewoman is combining training duties at her Shelbourne property with a career as a school teacher, and while that means long days and a lot of hard work, her efforts are paying off big time. Hargreaves is in the midst of an outstanding season, with a brilliant strike rate of 14 winners from just 33 starters turning heads in the industry. Her great start to the 2019-20 campaign comes on the back of a breakout 2018-19 season, when she registered 24 victories from 129 runners. “It’s sort of something I like to pride myself on is having a good strike rate,” said Hargreaves, who works with her partner and top driver Alex Ashwood. “We only have a small team and we don’t really have any stars in the team, so to have that many winners from so few starters, I’m pretty proud of that achievement. “We like to place our horses where they can win, so it’s a credit to Alex, because he is the one doing all the travelling around the state.” Hargreaves spent time as a youngster learning her craft under legendary trainer Peter Manning and idolised his daughter Kerryn for her feats in the sulky. The former Stawell girl said at times it was hard to believe how far she had come. “It really is a dream and that’s why I’m working so hard to get there. It’s something I wanted for my entire life, ever since I was a little girl,” Hargreaves said. “To sort of be in the position I am now, it’s sometimes a bit unbelievable. I look around at my stables and I’ve got 22 horses all there and I’m getting these winners… it’s sometimes a bit far-fetched and I think how is this even real? It’s pretty awesome.” Hargreaves will take three nice horses from her team to Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night in a bid to land some metropolitan grade success. Two of those - Zazu and Lorimer Lady - will meet in the Avis Melton Pace (2240m, 4YO and older), while Wonga Lake will have her second career start in the Woodlands Stud 3YO Pace Final (1720m, NR 46-51). Hargreaves said Zazu, who had his three-run picket fence spoiled when breaking gait at Mildura earlier this month, was favoured over Lorimer Lady, who also had a three-race winning sequence end at the same November 12 evening. “I think Zazu is probably my best chance. He is drawn one, which really suits him because he has got a lot of gate speed and he can do work at both ends,” she said. “He’ll be coming out trying to lead, he’s pretty quick and can rip up in a fast quarter, so I think he’s definitely a fantastic chance.” Hargreaves said Wonga Lake, a filly by Western Terror, had been given a trial following her strong second on debut on November 7 and was “definitely a chance” despite an awkward barrier five draw. The first event on Saturday night’s 11-race card kicks off at 6.02pm with the last to go at 11pm. CLICK BELOW TO HEAR MORE FROM KATE:     HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor

Having taken no harm from his unfortunate incident in the Dominion Handicap which robbed the race of so much interest, Oscar Bonavena will soon be back in the spotlight. Mark and Natalie intend to give him three outings over the Inter Dominion and Cup carnival before he heads later to Australia. Two are at Alexandra Park and one at Cambridge in the Trotters Flying Mile. An R50 + event is on the cards for December 14 followed by the Trotters Flying Mile at Cambridge on December 24 and then the National Trot at Alexandra Park on December 31st. In spite of the Dominion debacle, Oscar Bonavena remains the most exciting trotter in New Zealand. What is more he has Alexandra Park experience from a light campaign there last summer. Oscar Bonavena might gain special attention when he lines up at the Pukekohe trials on Saturday. It is posslble his co-owner Roy Purdon will be on hand to watch the heat all going well. Oscar has won 9 of 13 starts and been second twice so far after being purchased out of the Williamson stable as a later two year old by Chris Ryder and Roy Purdon.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Shake That House, at odds of 9-1, was able to shake up the house, collaring harness racing favorite Captain Crunch at the wire to win the $335,000 Hap Hansen Progress Pace Final Wednesday at Dover Downs. The 12th race feature for three-year-old pacing colts saw American Mercury (Tyler Buter) out leave Captain Crunch to the the early lead and then sting Captain Crunch and driver Yannick Gingras a little as they went by the first quarter in :26. Captain Crunch then sat comfortably on the lead past the half mile in :53.4 as Dancing Lou (Andy McCarthy) came first-over with Shake That House and driver Tim Tetrick were second-over and then by the three-quarters in 1:21, was first-over and gaining ground on Captain Crunch. As they came down the stretch, Shake That House proved to be the strong horse, beating Captain Crunch to the wire by a long neck in 1:50.1. U S Captain (Dexter Dunn) was third. A colt by American Ideal, Shake That House paid $20.20 to win. He is trained by Chris Oakes and is co-owned by Crawford Farms Racing, A J Johnston, and the Northfork Racing Stable. It was his seventh win on the season. “When got away from the horses inside of me,” said driver Tim Tetrick. “that was my objective, not to get away last. My horse actually closed well last week with a :25.4 last quarter and I thought if there was enough speed early on, we could be right there. “When I tipped him off the rail,” Tetrick explained. “and got some good cover he felt really good. Once I got around Andy (Dancin Lou) I knew my horse could track down Captain Crunch and he did.”   There were two $100,000 finals of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund for two-year-old pacers. The finals were named in memory of long time Dover publicist and Hall of Famer Marv Bachrad. The sixth race final for the pacing fillies saw the 1/9 favorite, Cinder Rock and driver Allan Davis shoot right out to the lead and never looked back. They cut fractions of :27, :55.1 and 1:25.2. In the backstretch, rival Bag Of Jewels (Victor Kirby) came first-over but lacked any true grit and faded after the three-quarters. Cinder Rock then pulled away in the stretch to win in a romp by ten and three-quarter lengths in 1:53.2. Sin Sumthin (Russell Foster) was second with Emma (Art Stafford, Jr.) third. It was the sixth straight win for Cinder Rock. The daughter of Rockabillie is trained by Wayne Givens for the Legacy Racing Of De, Inc. of Seaford. She paid just $2.20 to win and now has won six of her seven lifetime starts. “It was my plan all along to get to the front,” said Allan Davis. “I got there with her easy. It all worked out good today. “Early in her career,” Davis said, “Wayne (Givens) told me he was so close to just turning her out. He decided to bring her to the track with another horse and once she got behind the gate she was all business.”   In the 10th race $100,000 colt final, it was Bebop On The Block, making three moves starting from post eight to get what seemed to end up being an easy victory in 1:54.2. American Nitro (Victor Kirby) left from post seven and was stung a bit getting to the lead by Leonard’s Legacy (Corey Callahan) at the opening quarter mile in :26. Past the half in :55.3, there was no movement until the backstretch when driver Dexter Dunn moved from fourth place with Bebop On The Block, coming after pacesetter American Nitro at the three-quarters in 1:24.2. He collared the race leader and then with another gear, Dunn pulled away from the field in the stretch to win by two and three=quarter lengths. American Nitro held for second place with Undercovershamrock (Ross Wolfenden) third. It was the fourth straight win for Bebop On The Block, a gelded son of Gamblers Dream. He is trained by Josh Green for owners Debbie and Brendan Cook of Hartly. He paid $5.20 to win. “We had the eight-hole so I knew we had to get out a little for position,” said Dexter Dunn. “Once I moved him to the outside, he felt really good. He’s still immature but last four races he has been really good.”   “Very happy, what a great night,” said trainer Josh Green. “We came along slowly with him at first, preparing him for the Dover meet. Then we got Dexter to drive him and what a fabulous driver he is. We made a bit change tonight on him to try and get a little bit more leverage with him. It was Dexter who suggested it last week. It was a great idea. He was able to leave with him, get the four-hole,  made three great moves and Dexter got him home.” by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

By Garrick Knight    It wouldn’t be an Inter Dominion Series without some last minute controversy and it has once again materialised on the eve of Auckland’s 2019 edition. The series’ fourth favourite, McLovin, has been scratched from tomorrow night’s first round of the Trotting Championship heats at Alexandra Park. His Victorian trainer, Andy Gath, says the son of Monarchy broke out in a fever this morning. “He didn’t eat up last night and had a really high temperature this morning,” Gath told HRNZ. “So, I got him treated with medication which has ruled him out of tomorrow night.” But as of Thursday lunchtime, he was not officially ruled out of the series. Gath was holding on to hope that McLovin could re-enter the series on Tuesday for the second round of heats, something which is technically possible under the series conditions. “To be eligible to compete in the Grand Final of the Trotting Championship, horses shall start in all Qualifying Heats, unless exemption is granted by the Host Controlling Body, which shall decide upon each case according to its merits,” reads the relevant condition. The host controlling body is Harness Racing New Zealand and they are being called upon to make a determination in the next 48 hours, before Tuesday’s second round of heats are drawn up late Saturday morning. Handicapper Andrew Morris said he would be consulting with the Racing Integrity Unit and the Inter Dominion Council and a decision would be made in due course once all information had been gathered. The Inter Dominion Council includes both HRNZ’s CEO, Peter Jensen, and his Harness Racing Australia counterpart, Andrew Kelly. The Racing Integrity Unit’s Nick Ydgren said he had been contacted by Gath for clarification on withholding periods this morning, but had not yet been notified of what specific medications were administered. Gath says there is a precedent in place, with both Sinbad Bay (1995) and Bag Limit (1987) granted permission to re-enter the series after scratching through illness. “But they were both ultimately scratched prior to racing, anyway.” Bag Limit’s scratching allowed subsequent grand final winner, My Lightning Blue, back in to the field. Auckland Trotting Club Racing Manager, Regan Cotter, believes McLovin would get zero points for Round 1, meaning even if he was allowed back in for Tuesday, he would face an uphill task to make the final. Gath just wants the option available should McLovin recover in the next 48 hours. In another bitter blow for a series already light on numbers, Credit Master was also scratched from tomorrow night’s first round of heats after contracting an infection. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Breaking through a seemingly impenetrable barrier to notch a Group 1 success for West Australian-bred pacer Shockwave is haunting the connections of the talented horse, who gets an opportunity to post this elusive victory when he starts from the back line in the $125,000 Simmonds Steel Four-Year-Old Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Shockwave, prepared at Baskerville by Ryan Bell, has contested five group 1 feature events in his 28-start career of nine wins and ten placings for two seconds (in the Pearl and Westbred Classic as a two-year-old), fifths in the Golden Slipper and the three-year-old leg of the Westbred Classic, and a fourth behind Major Trojan in the WA Derby last April. He will start from the No. 2 barrier on the back line in this week’s 2130m classic and reinsman Aiden de Campo will be keen to land in a prominent position in the one-wide line before calling on the Mach Three horse to unwind a typical storming finishing burst. Shockwave gave an outstanding performance in the Group 2 $50,000 Four-Year-Old Championship over 2130m last Friday week when he was a 60/1 outsider from the outside barrier (No. 9) on the front line. He settled down in 11th position and was tenth at the bell before he started a spirited finishing burst. After being forced five wide about 250m from the post, he charged home to be an eye-catching third, a half-length behind the winner Theo Aviator and the second placegetter Sangue Reale. Shockwave, purchased for $46,000 at the 2017 APG yearling sale in Perth, is owned by Gloucester Park Harness Racing vice-president Kevin Jeavons, his son Kyle and Howard King. Astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed holds a strong hand in Friday night’s race with three runners, Bletchley Park (barrier one), Gran Chico (two) and Valbonne (four). Reed has made no secret that he considers Bletchley Park to be one of the best young pacers he has trained over the past 40 years and he plans to instruct Michael Grantham to take full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier. The Victorian-bred Bletchley Park has a 50 per cent winning record and the smart frontrunner has won two group 3 events and has finished a half-head second to Franco Edward in the 2018 Golden Slipper and raced three back on the pegs before finishing strongly on the inside to be second to Major Trojan in the 2019 WA Derby. Stablemate Gran Chico is expected to be a solid favourite after several impressive performances in New Zealand and an easy win at his West Australian debut last Friday week when he was not extended in beating Dominate The Dojo and Iceenothink. The big, strong gelding was the lone back-line runner, who settled in fifth place in the one-wide line before Shannon Suvaljko sent him forward with a three-wide burst to take up the running after 500m. He dashed over the final quarters in 28.3sec. and 27.7sec. Suvaljko was delighted with Gran Chico’s run, saying: “It was a perfect run, first-up. Mike said he was underdone and he is sure to be improved. He felt really good and was sharp off the gate as the only runner off the back line. I just let him do what he wanted to do. I didn’t turn the whip or pull the ear plugs. “If you watch all Gran Chico’s runs in New Zealand, he does the same; he wins by only a neck or a half-length. He never kills them (the opposition). He needs another horse (challenging him) and when that horse is besides him, he will just charge at him. “I’ll drive Gran Chico consistent with the way he has been driven. He’ll be up there and we won’t die wondering. I’ve watched his replays and he has got speed off the gate.” Trainer-reinsman Aldo Cortopassi said that Theo Aviator had done really well since his fast-finishing victory over Sangue Reale and Shockwave last Friday week. “That was only second-up, so he’s still going up the hill,” he said. “From barrier 12 I don’t know what I’m going to do. “I’ll sit down and study things to determine whether I’ll punch through or drop in and try to get a fence run like we did last start. I’ll be looking for some short cuts early and hope that there is some genuine speed. Theo Aviator can sit and sprint with the best of them.” Trainer Michael Brennan admitted that barrier five was not a perfect draw for Sangue Reale. “But we’re still a chance,” he said. “He has improved a heap since his last run and I’m absolutely rapt with him. If he had drawn one or ten I’d be really confident of him running in the first two or three.” Chris Voak has been engaged to drive Sangue Reale, replacing the New South Wales-bred gelding’s regular reinsman Michael Grantham, who will be in the sulky behind Bletchley Park. Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri is expecting a strong performance from Gee Jay Kay, a winner at ten of his 24 starts. Chris Lewis will drive him from barrier three on the front line. Gee Jay Kay had a tough run without cover before wilting late to finish seventh behind Theo Aviator last Friday week --- 11 days after an impressive victory over Ocean Ridge at Pinjarra. “He has done very well since his latest run,” said Olivieri. “Any thoughts that the run in the breeze might have knocked him around are unfounded and he has taken no ill-effects from the run. He was beaten by only nine metres and he beat all the fancied horses. I wasn’t disappointed. I think Chris will give him time to find his feet before putting him into the race.” Dylan Egerton-Green will drive the Colin Brown-trained Patrickthepiranha from the inside of the back line and the gelding is sure to be prominent. “I’m happy with the draw and with the horse, and I’m happy with his latest run when he had no luck.” Champion trainer Gary Hall Snr fared poorly in the barrier draw with his three runners Wildwest, Robbie Easton and Eloquent Mach, with Wildwest, to be driven by Gary Hall Jnr, the stable’s best hope, despite drawing the outside (No. 9) on the front line. Wildwest, unbeaten at his first eight starts, suffered his first defeat when eighth behind Theo Aviator last Friday week when he was forced to cover a lot of extra ground in the final circuit. Robbie Easton (barrier six) and Eloquent Mach (seven) look tested from unfavourable draws.   Ken Casellas

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