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The Associations’ recent National Council bi-annual meeting was preceeded by a meeting with Chris Bayliss, CEO of the Racing Board. Chris gave a short resume of his eighteen months in the job. His initial reaction had been amazement at a lack of data available, the myriad of varied stake-holders in the Racing and sporting Industries, and the amount of advice he had been given by all of those sectors. He had decided that the two main stakeholders that everything else focussed around were owners and punters. He then proceeded to outline various aspects of the Industry that he had discovered, including New Zealand having the same number of tracks as the UK with 80million people, a reliance on gaming money, and that the Industry as a whole was grossly unprofitable. The TAB was the largest retailer in NZ and was a unique statutory body, and its’ size and influence were grossly under-estimated by punters. In answer to a question of ownership, Chris advised that no-one owned it, as the money lent by the Clubs to establish it, had been paid back. Income was around $180m with payment of stakes approximately $80m. This equated to a return of $62m to owners for costs of around $283m, meaning a return to owners of 22% (or a loss of 78%), the second lowest in the World after the UK. He also compared our situation with those of Singapore and Hong Kong where they had only one track each. He had spoken to the Prime Minister on a number of occasions, and reported that he was sympathetic towards the Industry, and would be producing an election manifesto to cover their partys’ plans for it. Regarding technology, he advised that Trackside was the biggest broadcaster in NZ, with 7 of the existing 10 outside broadcast units in the Country. He advised that to change these to high definition technology would cost $10m each. The TAB IT systems were outdated 70’s technology which urgently needed replacement, and he described teletext at 29 year old ‘junk’ that no-one knew how to fix and parts were impossible to source. Chris advised he had indentified numerous ways of improving the Industry and making money, however this all involved large investment and he would be having to make some big decisions in the near future to make up for the lack of action over the past ten years. TAB phone accounts had decreased in number from 200,000 to 100,000 in that time, and he felt it was important to spread to new markets to counter further decreases. Off-shore leakage was a serious problem, however he reported that the Government was sympathetic and were looking at ways of countering this, including a point of consumption tax, and a profit fee for overseas betting operators. It was hoped that the introduction of a new phone app. would help this situation. As from 1 August 2014, there would be no duplication of races on the two Trackside channels, and while Triple Trio had failed to reach expectations, overall turnover had risen 7% since its’ introduction, possibly due to the advertising campaign. Other matters discussed with Chris included, the little recognised fact that the TAB does not pay Corporation Tax, racing accounts for 1% of GDP, a completely different dates calendar that he had commissioned that would increase turnover by an estimated $17m, and various aspects of Section 16 of the Racing Act including the fact that harness imported 14% of the Australian product yet received 29% of the turnover revenue. However he was conscious of the background of harness moving dates and time slots to accommodate Australian galloping races. Greyhounds would be the big benefactors of any changes to Section 16 due to the volume of races. Chris also spoke on centralisation, suggesting that proportioning TAB costs to the various codes could be looked at. He claimed that if 70% of the current meetings could be staged on 50% of the current venues, this would raise the profit margin by 50%. In response to a question from Ken Barron re starting times and intervals for night meetings, Chris was sympathetic but stressed the need to fit around the Australian import. However, with the introduction of the two separate channels this should improve. Part 2 next week. By Peter T Cook (NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)

Following three very successful runnings of the Seasonal Super Series held at Addington this season, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) will stage a fourth Super Series on Friday 8 August 2014. The three rounds of the Series held in October and December 2013 and May this year, proved to be very successful with a good level of runners (an average of 13 starters) competing in both the finals and consolations. It was encouraging to see a “spread” of winners from a wide range of trainers taking out their share of the stakes, providing a number of different owners with a healthy return. As well as some current top 20 premiership placed trainers including Robert Dunn, Terry and Glenys Chmiel, Ken Barron, Tim Butt, Nigel McGrath, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen cashing in, wins were achieved by Peter Bagrie, Brian Fahey, Gavin Cook, Craig Edmonds, Alex Hastie, Barry Ford and Noel Taylor. Total stakes paid out in the new Series will result in approximately $400,000 including the August round. The fourth Series, to be staged also at Addington, will once again cater for lower grade horses with projected stakes totalling greater than $100,000 over six events. There will be opportunities for:    C0 pacers at 3 May 2014 – Stake $23,500  C1 to C2 pacers at 3 May 2014 – Stake $23,500  C0 to C2 trotters at 3 May 2014 – Stake $23,500 Consolations for these races will be run should numbers warrant, with each consolation carrying a total stake of $12,500. All starters in the open race (final) are to receive a minimum stake of $500 and all starters in the consolations will receive a minimum stake of $250. There is no enrolment fee payable. Field selection will be based on a points system. To qualify to start in these races on 8 August 2014, a horse must have started at least twice at a NZMTC meeting between 10 May 2014 and 31 July 2014. With nine NZMTC meetings at Addington during this period there is ample opportunity for owners and trainers to prepare their horses for the series. It is the intention of the NZMTC that a similar series will take place later in the year on 10 October 2014 under like conditions. Full details and conditions are to follow and can be viewed Alternatively, please call Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Last week the ring-around produced seven winners, with Mark Jones, Stephen Richardson, Blair Orange, David Butt, Simon Lawson, Terry Chmiel, Jonny Cox, and Ricky May all producing the goods. Let’s hope for a repeat performance this week! Forbury Park - Thursday Andrew Armour: Has opted for Al Raza, who will look to go one better after a nice debut second - race two. Jonny Cox: Is bullish about the chances of Tagataese, who smashed his rivals in a penalty free maiden claimers race last start. He competes in the third race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for the consistent Waitoto Express, who should add to his bank balance on Thursday - race five. Matthew Williamson: Had the choice of three drives in the last race at Forbury but opted for Lionels Meddle, who looks well placed in the tenth race on the card. Alexandra Park - Friday Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chance of Full Speed Ahead, who was an emphatic winner at Addington last start - race one. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for the smart Doubleodeano, who looks the main threat to Full Speed Ahead. - race one. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Rates the chances of smart filly Lancewood Lizzie, who is now trained by Barry Purdon - race four. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Linda Lovegrace - race five David Butt: Thinks One Over Da Moon can make the most of his ace alley in the Northern Trotting Derby - race eight. Ken Barron: Expects star trotting filly Majestic Time to prove very hard to beat in the Northern Trotting Derby - race eight. Anthony Butt: Will take the reins behind Aussie raider Zedalite, who was a very good second in the Anzac Cup last week - race ten. Nathan Williamson: Has taken The Wonkey Donkey north and expects him to be very competitive in the last race on the card. Addington - Friday Mark Jones: Thinks two-year-old Smoke N Santanna will be very hard to beat in what looks an average maiden line-up - race one. Gavin Smith: Thinks the consistent Naughty Maravu can be competitive despite his tricky barrier draw - race eight. Thames@ Alexandra Park - Sunday Josh Dickie: Has opted for Live At Speed, who drops back from a handy fifth in a much stronger field last start - race one. Jay Abernethy: Rates Riverboat Sue as his best chance of the week- race five. Ashburton – Sunday Ricky May: Believes Franco Salisbury, who was a fast-finishing fourth last start, will prove hard to beat from his ace alley – race seven. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Little Tess looks very well placed in the ninth race on Sunday.    

Or the past couple of months, Chairman Ken and the undersigned have attended meetings aimed at resurrecting a Greater Canterbury Awards night, in conjunction with representatives of the local Owners and Breeders Associations. As a result an Awards Dinner will be held on the evening of Saturday 27 September, in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway. The plan is for the awards to relate to excellence or exceptional achievements during the past season, and not necessarily for simply season leaders, as these were normally covered in the National Awards. Keep an eye out for more details. Kevin Townley expressed concern at the handicaps being given in discretionary handicaps, particularly the Country Cup finals and the 4&5 year old Trotters Championship. He suggested that handicaps based on money won would see fairer contests. A couple of issues surrounding Addington Raceway were raised, and replies from officials have subsequently been received on them. The initial comment was unanimous praise for the excellent condition of the track, and a note of thanks was sent to John Denton and his crew. The urgent need for a new drivers’ room at the venue was expressed, and it is understood that by Thursday 24 April, work will be completed on converting the old stable barbecue area into a drivers facility. Investigations are also underway as to how to solve the historical problem of the shadows from light poles at the Raceway. The initial idea of installing LED lighting has been shelved as the current technology has been found to be unsatisfactory at some other venues, both here and overseas. Tests were carried out involving turning the lights on to eliminate shadows with limited success, and this may be used as a temporary solution while other avenues are explored. Other matters raised at the meeting included Mark Jones suggesting a reduction in options for trial programmes to eliminate two and three horse fields, a letter was to be sent to the RIU congratulating the Stewards officiating at the recent Westport meeting on their handling of the unfortunate accident, and those present feeling that there were too many false starts, with Kevin Townley suggesting that Starters should be fined for faulty gear (eg. Starting mechanisms and tapes) in a similar way to trainers. Ken Barron questioned why, in the TAB Racing Calendar, the official starting time for night meetings was 5pm, when an earlier start could be preferable for all concerned. This was to be raised at the upcoming meeting with Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy on the NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)

The All Stars team were at it again at Addington last night winning three races on the card with their incredible crop of two-year-olds. “It’s probably the strongest overall group of juveniles that we have ever had, which is no mean feat,” enthused Mark Purdon. Kicking of the night in grand style was two-year-old trotter Prince Fearless, who proved too strong for BD Love and Speeding Spur in the $65,000 2YO Sales Series Trot despite racing parked for the majority of the journey. “He half by switched off when he hit the front last week but he kept going this week,” said driver Blair Orange, who ironically downed his future boss in Ken Barron. “He is a lovely trotter with great manners and you would think he would only get better,” added Orange. Prince Fearless is a Majestic Son two-year-old full brother to Not About The Money, who showed any amount of ability early in his career before going ‘off the rails’ so to speak. “He is completely different to his brother at this stage and is definitely making up for his antics,” said Purdon. Prince Fearless will now race in the Group One Sires Stakes at Addington in two weeks time. On the pacing front, the All Stars team quinelled the 2YO Colts & Gelding Sire Stakes heat with Alta Orlando (Courage Under Fire), who produced a supersonic run, downing stablemate Hug The Wind and the Cran Dalgety trained Art Union. “He has got a heap of bottom to him but he also has a lot of speed,” said co-trainer-driver Natalie Rasmussen. “Art Union is a very nice horse and he sat outside him and just breezed on by. He was still travelling strongly at the line,” she enthused. “He is as good as any of our two-year-olds with the exception of Follow The Stars at this stage,” she advised. “His manners are his only flaw at the moment but they should improve with racing,” she added. Rasmussen was then victorious in a maiden race with another Courage Under Fire juvenile in Iceobar, who downed his stablemate Assassinator, giving the All Stars two Quinellas for the night. Iceobar gave loyal All Stars client Neil Piltcher his third win for the night and continued his great association with the progeny of Courage Under Fire. Natalie Rasmussen also shares in the ownership of Iceobar as well as the runner-up, Assassinator. By Mitchell Robertson

A close association with All Stars going back 12 years will end in July when Blair Orange strikes up a new career combining training with driving. Blair has entered into an agreement with Ken Barron to operate a training/driving operation similar to that which Ken enjoyed with his mentor John Lischner which resulted in Ken ultimately taking over the training operation. Blair will continue to drive free lance where he can and is sure to be seen in the All Star colours again-but not as a stable associate which he has been since 2002.  "The only reason for my leaving is that this is an opportunity too good to miss” Blair said. "It was always going to come to this sooner or later because I intended striking out on my own. This is just an ideal way to take the next step. Mark and Natalie have been involved through the process and we part on the best of terms. I have been grateful for what happened to me during my time at All Stars. It lifted me into the big time you could say and gave me great opportunities I would not have got otherwise. We have always had a good relationship and that will continue. But you have to keep moving forward. I was due to do that. I am looking forward to the challenge'' Blair was approached by Ken after the latter decided he would take a step back from race driving and concentrate more on stable administration.  Both Mark and Natalie offer Blair all the best in his new venture. As Natalie put it "We wish Blair all the best. He had been with the stable 12 years or so after all and has always been an important member of Mark's team and he justified that confidence and was very loyal.  There always comes a time when you move on and this is a good opportunity for him'' Blair joined All Stars within a couple of years of leaving junior driver ranks. In December 1997 he drove his first winner, Whizza Nova, at Reefton, trained by Tim Butt who was then his employer. His winning total in stakes was just over $7000. By 2007 his winning drives had topped $1m a season in earnings having built steadily during his stay with All Stars and have rarely dropped below that figure. Blair has set a stack of personal records including seven Harness Jewels wins and set such marks as four of the last 8 runnings of the Welcome Stakes. All Stars have helped him push his total wins to 929 and he should join the 1000 club before the end of the year. Even if the 1000th winner does not come in All Stars colours Blair would be the first to say its contribution to his career has been crucial. By David McCarthy (Courtesy of ALL STARS STABLES)

Last week was a disappointing one for the ring-around with just Blair Orange and Mark Jones producing the goods, however a form reversal is expected this weekend.   Here is what some of New Zealand's leading harness racing participants came up with for us this week.   Addington - Thursday   Josh Dickie: Was pleased with Speeding Spur in his South Island debut and expects him to be hard to roll in the feature two-year-old trot - race two.   Mark Jones:  Has opted for impressive trialist Fleeting Grin, who should take all sorts of stopping in race five on the card   Craig Thornely:  Expects Gotta Grunter, who is now on the beach with Mark Jones, to break maidens at short notice - race five   Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Was impressed with the way Fifth Edition found the line last start. He looks well placed in race six on the card after dropping back from C2.   Matthew Williamson: Thinks Mokosun can make it three wins on end in race eight on the card.   Nigel McGrath:  Believes that Heza Mighty Monarch will take a power of beating if he is to do things right in race ten.   Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Has opted for Iceobar on the back of an eyecatching fresh-up third - race eleven   Gavin Smith:  Thinks Waihemo Art is a strong chance in what looks an average maiden line-up - race twelve   Alexandra Park - Friday   Blair Orange: Expects a bold preformance from  Paramount Queen in the first race of the card. Stephen McNally: Thinks K D Muscles, who has been racing well in age group company, looks the one in race three.   Scott Phelan: Rates Sweet Art  as a good each-way chance- race seven   Todd Mitchell: Was impresed with how Prime Power worked during the week and expects him to be very hard to beat in the Anzac Cup - race nine   David Butt: Expects One Over Da Moon to prove too good if he can jump to the lead early - race eleven   Simon Lawson: Has opted for classy two-year-old Beaudiene Boaz - race twelve   Gore - Saturday   Tim Williams:  Thinks Bettor Buy It  will prove hard to beat in the Southern Supremacy- race ten   Rangiora - Sunday   Terry Chmiel: Thinks Dynamic Party looks well placed in race two despite his tricky barrier draw.   Ken Barron: Believes Pacquiao can top off a string of good runs with a win in race five.   Jonny Cox:  Is bullish about the chances of Jaccka Justy, who was a game second behind Master Lavros last start - race seven   Ricky May:  Expects Terror To Love to finish his season in style in the Rangiora Classic - race eight

Chairman Ken Barron presided over a recent meeting of the Greater Canterbury Branch, with HRNZs’ Pete Ydgren along to discuss a number of issues. Pete raised the ‘old chestnut’ of the quality of communication between some trainers and their owners. Apparently the HRNZ Board has been made aware of some complaints in this area, however the Association has always felt that, as in any line of business, if an owner is unhappy with the service his trainer offers, he should look elsewhere. On closer inspection it appears that the majority of problems concern owners receiving bills for veterinarian services for which they either had no knowledge of, or had not expected to be as high as they were. The meeting suggested that owners should obtain quotes for veterinarian services directly, and not involve the trainer in the process. Ideas such as websites, text messages or e-mails were discussed, however the consensus was that most owners preferred to speak to trainers on the phone or in person. A suggestion that workshops be held to instruct trainers was felt to be a waste of time and money, so Pete is to compile a document suggesting methods of successful communications to owners. Another matter discussed with Pete was the introduction of the proposed points system for field selection. Apparently the implementation of this system would take one person in the HRNZ IT department ten weeks, so the Handicapping Sub-Committee, which met earlier that day, had agreed that a money-won system would be a more realistic, and possibly more efficient, option. Other issues covered with Pete Ydgren included the new HRNZ Business Plan which, unlike its’ predecessors contained time frame limits, and therefore consequences if the deadlines were not met. Items of interest included the introduction of Racing Bureaux, and an investigation into the restructuring of the HRNZ Board. Note this is only an investigation, and there is no guarantee that any changes will occur as a result. One possible scenario was the establishment of a Stakeholders Council which would forward suggestions and proposals to a Board of Management. Centralisation was discussed, with Pete advising that very few tracks were owned by the Clubs themselves, so that little advantage would be gained by closures. In addition, history suggests that any such closures would lead to a drop off of interest in that particular area, both from volunteers and punters. Anthony Butt expressed disappointment that the Ashburton Club meeting was scheduled for the day after the jewels, presenting travel issues for drivers attending both meetings. John Lischner summarised a number of issues and proposals being considered by the HRNZ Board. These included harness programmes being restricted to a maximum of 11 races instead of the current 12, the extension of the rating for open class trotters from C7 to C8, and the likely abolition of Invited Drivers series, which were proving costly and difficult to arrange. John advised that HRNZ Veterinary Consultant Andrew Grierson would be attending the Associations’ National Council on 2 May to discuss current drug related issues. Part 2 next week. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy of the NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Association)

Last week the ring-around produced five winners including my each-way bet of the week Dream Gal, which bolted in at odds of $6 and $1.80. Others to tip out winners included Mark Jones, Steve Richardson (TAB), Todd Mitchell, Matt Williamson, and Tim Williams. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Cambridge - Thursday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for unbeaten juvenile trotter The Driving God - race five. Scott Phelan: Thinks Seven Blue Chips can make the most of his ace alley in race number six. Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Thomas McBride to prove very hard to beat in the seventh race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine as his Harnesslink Bet of the Week – race nine. Forbury - Thursday Nathan Williamson: Thinks the very consistent Nickelson will get some money in race three. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Pay Me Sush in the sixth race on the card. John Dunn: Has opted for Graduate Under Fire, who has been in brilliant form of late. He looks well placed in race number seven. Gavin Smith: Thinks Vincennes looks well suited to the short 1200 metre sprint distance in race nine on the card. Terry Chmiel: Expects Moondyne Joe, who was in need of a run when third in a good field last start at Addington, to prove too good - race eleven. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Have both opted for Strike On Command, who is unbeaten from two appearances at Forbury Park - race twelve. Jonny Cox:  Rates Sara Holley, who has drawn well for Thursday’s assignment, as a very good each-way bet. She also competes in the last race on the card. Tim Williams: Has added to the puzzle by tipping Bobbie McArdle in race twelve. Trifecta perhaps? Addington - Saturday Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Speeding Spur trialled on Monday and expects him to highly competitive in the Two-year-old Trotting Stakes - race four. Anthony Butt:  Has opted for impressive two-year-old trialist Curlimore, who looks a great chance from a good alley in race number six. Matthew Williamson: Expects Zhenya to appreciate the drop back in class in race number seven. Craig Thornley: Thinks Given only needs to trot to be competitive - race eleven. Ken Barron: Was very pleased with Pacquiao last start and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Snooki – Hawera (Saturday), race three. Each-way: Prince Fearless – Addington (Saturday), race four. Curlimore  - Addington (Saturday), race five Value: Dark Side  - Forbury Park (Thursday), race five.

Last week the ring-around produced six winners, including my bet of the week and my two each-way bets of the week. Others to tip out winners were Jonny Cox, Steve Richardson, and Ken Barron. Let’s see if some of the trainers and drivers can hold up their end of the bargain this week! Forbury – Thursday Dexter Dunn: Has surprisingly opted for Phat Freddy’s Drop, who will look to break maidens in the first race on the card. Jonny Cox: Rates Mako Banner as a very good each-way chance in race three. Quinella with Katy Perry perhaps? Craig Thornley: Was pleased with U Can I Can at the recent Motukarara workouts - race four Mark Jones: Expects Ultimate CC to prove very hard to beat in the ninth race on the card Terry Chmiel: Is expecting a bold performance from Angus T Jones in the ninth race. Alexandra Park - Friday Scott Phelan: Expects Cheers Kathy to be very hard to roll in the first race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for impressive last start winner Destination Moon - race six Todd Mitchell: Is a very big fan of Mach's Gladiator, and expects him to be hard to roll in the ninth race on the card. Addington - Friday   Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chances of Paramount Queen, who looks very well placed in race two. Anthony Butt: Thinks Thebestlove is a big chance in the NZ Trotting Derby - race four David Butt: Warns punters not to drop One Over Da Moon, who also competes in the NZ Trotting Derby - race four Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Locharburn to prove to strong in the NZ Derby - race nine Ken Barron:  Rates the chances of capable two-year-old filly Livura, who has drawn well for Friday’s assignment - race twelve Gavin Smith: Thinks Dana Duke could be well over the odds in the same event - race twelve Invercargill - Sunday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for the capable yet enigmatic Bet's Sun, who would only need to trot to win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Thinks Just A Delight, who has finished second in her last three outings, is overdue a winning turn - race ten Andrew Armour Thinks Blanco, who has raced well since joining the barn of Tom Kilkelly, is a good each-way chance in race eleven. Motukarara – Sunday Ricky May: Believes Franco Salisbury will take all sorts of beating from his ace draw – race seven. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Char Do Neigh – Invercargill, race five Each-way: Dream Gal – Forbury Park, race five Emmanuel – Addington, race three Value: Ranfurly Rulz – Addington, race one  

Congratulations to David Butt, Josh Dickie, Mark Jones, Simon Lawson, and Tim Williams who all tipped out winners last week. Unfortunately Blair Orange came up a  ½ length short of tipping six consecutive winners, with the stablemate that he did highlight as the horse to beat holding on to win narrowly. Let’s find out what the boys have sorted out for us this week: Andrew Armour: Expects Armbro Courage to break maidens at very short notice – Winton, race six. Anthony Butt: Thinks Ideal Power can make it three straight victories – Addington, race seven. Blair Orange: Has opted to go head-to-head with Anthony, tipping Rocknroll Arden in the same event - Addington, race seven. Craig Thornely: Believes Gotta Grunter can break maidens after a string of seconds to open her career. She competes in the sixth race at Rangiora on Sunday. David Butt:  Has a big opinion of One Over Da Moon and expects him to win the second race at Addington on Friday. Gavin Smith: Thinks the unbeaten Karanga Red Fantasy, who trialled well behind Adore Me on Monday, will prove hard to beat in race three at Addington on Friday. Jonny Cox: Expects Goodness Gracious Me, who was a game third in the Southland Oaks, to be very hard to beat in the seventh race at Winton on Sunday. Josh Dickie: Has opted for Sunny Vacation as his bet of the week – Alexandra Park, race ten. Ken Barron: Was keen around the chances of Quality Invasion but in the end opted for Majestic Time who will take all sorts of stopping in the NZ Trotting Oaks – Addington, race four. Mark Jones: Is very happy with Master Lavros and expects him to bounce back to winning for in the race ten at Addington on Friday. Matthew Williamson:  Thinks talented but enigmatic trotter Bet’s Sun can bet its best foot forward in the third race at Rangiora on Sunday. Nathan Williamson: Thinks the consistent Defy is overdue a winning turn – Winton, race six. Ricky May: Expects extremely talented two-year-old trotter Monbet to prove too good in the first race at Rangiora on Sunday. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Besotted in the Kumeu Stakes at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B):  Likes the chances of speedy filly God Forbid who should be better for her fresh up run – Alexandra Park, race five. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Little Less can get some money in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Tim Williams: Has opted for Popular, who should be just that with punters after a very good run behind Raksdeal last start – Winton, race two. Todd Mitchell: Expects his stable star Prime Power to prove very hard to beat in the eighth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Saratoga – Alexandra Park, race ten. Each-way: Hug The Wind – Addington, race eleven. Smiles For Miles – Winton, race six. Value: Pomme Roy – Addington, race six.

The ring-around continues to gain momentum, so much so that it debuted on The Box Seat last night and will now hold a weekly spot on the show. Last week the Harnesslink ring-around produced seven winners with the best result being the Stephen Richardson tipped Djokovic who romped in by 8 & ½ lengths at odds of $6.20. Other winners included Sunhaven Express, who was victorious at a nice each-way price of $5.30 and $2.20. So, let see what the boys have come up with for us this week! Andrew Armour: Rates Armbro Courage as his best chance of the week – Invercargill, race three Blair Orange: Who is shooting for six winning tips in a row, expects Itz Bettor To Win to remain unbeaten after the first race at Invercargill on Sunday. Craig Thornely: Has opted for Smithy in the eighth race at Addington on Friday. David Butt:  Rates Lotalov as a very good each-way bet in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Dexter Dunn: Thinks the highly capable trotter Sheemon will prove very hard to beat in race seven at Addington on Friday. Gavin Smith: Has opted for Zena Mac, who was a bold second last start at Methven – Akaroa @ Motukarara, race four. Jonny Cox: Expects Smiles For Miles to be very hard to beat on Sunday – Invercargill, race three. Josh Dickie: Is bullish about the chances of Destination Moon in the last race at Cambridge tonight. Ken Barron: Expects Mighty Major to be very hard to stop from his inside barrier draw – Addington, race four. Mark Jones: Is prepared to give The Ultimate Storm one last chance - Addington, race eleven. Matthew Williamson: Rates Zhenya as his best chance of the week – Addington, race ten. Nathan Williamson: Thinks talented filly I Smart can get some money in the Southland Oaks – Invercargill, race eight. Simon Lawson:  Has a high opinion of Unforgiving, and expects her to be very hard to beat in the third race at Cambridge tonight. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Robyn's Raider can make it back-to-back wins in the tenth race at Invercargill on Sunday. Terry Chmiel: Expects Swarozki to be competitive in the second race at Addington on Friday. Tim Williams: Has opted for Bobbie McArdle, who looks a good each-way chance in race five at Invercargill on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks It's All On will offer some good each-way value for punters – Cambridge, race ten.   Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bets: Alleluia – Addington, race eight Tokohoka – Invercargill, race five Each-way: Blue Eyed Suzie – Invercargill, race seven Value: Holy Grail – Addington, race nine

Last week ring-around followers walked away with full pockets after Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, Jonny Cox, Ken Barron, Steve Richardson, Tim Williams, and Todd Mitchell, all tipped out winners. Let’s see what the boys have rustled up for us this week. Andrew Armour: Likes the chances of Dazzling Arden from her ace alley in the second race at Invercargill on Saturday. Blair Orange: Has opted for Rocknroll Arden, who was a luckless second last start. She competes in the third race at Timaru (Addington) on Friday. Craig Thornley: Thinks Gotta Grunter, who put in a couple of very tidy runs on the West Coast, is a good each-way chance in the sixth event at Timaru (Addington) on Friday. Jim Curtin: Thinks the enigmatic Sunchita will make it two wins in quick succession on Sunday at Methven. Jonny Cox: Rates Sunhaven Express as a strong each-way chance in the second race at Invercargill on Saturday. Matthew Williamson: Rates the chances of Royal Squeeze in the first race at Invercargill on Saturday. Mark Jones: Said he didn’t have an overly strong team in this week, but rated Goodness Gracious Me as the best of them. – Timaru (Addington), race five. Nathan Williamson: Has a lot of time for I Smart and expects her to be hard to beat in the sixth race at Invercargill on Saturday. Ricky May: Has opted for Pay Me Sush, who was a luckless second on debut. She competes in the sixth event at Timaru (Addington) on Friday. Simon Lawson: Is expecting a bold performance from Ton Tine, who is a newcomer to his father’s stable – Alexandra Park, race five. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Djokovic, with manners, will prove too strong in the third race at Cambridge tonight. Terry Chmiel: Is expecting a bold performance from Little Tess in the eighth race at Timaru (Addington) on Friday. Tim Williams: likes the chances of Just A Delight in the seventh race at Invercargill on Saturday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks Mach’s Gladiator can go back-to-back-to-back in the eighth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bets: Splendour – Cambridge, race eleven. No Doctor Needed – Invercargill, race eleven. Each-way: Royal Mach – Addington, race seven. Value: Real Life Hero – Methven, race two.

Congratulations to Blair Orange, Jim Curtin, Matthew Williamson, and Nathan Williamson, who were last week’s top tipsters. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week Andrew Armour:  Likes the chances of Armbro Courage in race five at Winton on Saturday. Anthony Butt: Is bullish about the chances of capable maiden Blingiton in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Blair Orange: Thinks Gentle Western will prove awfully hard to beat in the tenth race at Winton on Saturday. David Butt: Thinks war horse Stig can return to winning form in the fifth race at Addington on Friday. Gavin Smith: Rates Zena Mac as a good each-way prospect in the first race at Motukarara on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Expects William H Bonny to be very hard to beat in the second race at Winton on Saturday. Ken Barron: Has a lot of time for smart trotting filly Majestic Time, who was impressive at the recent Addington trials. She will compete in the sixth race at Addington on Friday. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Cam Before The Storm can make it three straight wins at Winton on Saturday. Nathan Williamson: Is bullish about the chances of I Smart in seventh race at Winton on Saturday. Scott Phelan: Has opted for Washington Diva as his bet of the week – Manawatu, race three. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Think First Holme might be exactly that in the first race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Tim Williams: Rates the chances of capable three-year-old Bettor Buy It in the race twelve at Winton. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Cullies Delight in the last race at Manawatu tonight as his bet of the week. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bet: Tazzy’s Devil – Alexandra Park, race 10 Each-way: Johnny Fox – Addington, race three Value: Spinyback – Motukarara, race one  

Ten horsemen and one horsewoman were inducted into the Noel Taylor New Zealand Trotting Hall Of Fame on Auckland Cup night last Friday. But it was harness racing legend, Charlie Roberts, who stole the limelight at the 4pm ceremony. He was one of four industry participants who were also bestowed with ‘Harness Racing Contribution Awards’. Mr Roberts, who turned 90 this month, left hospital on Friday especially to be at the function and to watch Adore Me run second in the Auckland Cup.  A renowned veterinarian, breeder, stud master and owner, Mr Roberts has been a driving force in New Zealand harness racing circles for more than 60 years. Initially involved in thoroughbreds it has been his association with Woodlands stud that has kept him a household harness racing name. For example at last year’s annual Harness Racing Awards he Christchurch Mr Roberts won five trophies including Owner and Breeder-of-the-Year, as well as awards for his champion stallion and broodmare Bettor’s Delight and Scuse Me. As co-owner of Christen Me and Adore Me, added to his status as a true harness racing legend. Mr Roberts is also the only person to be named Breeder-of-the-Year in both the standardbred and thoroughbred codes. Being an original shareholder in Sir Tristram is another one of the many feathers in his cap. Long before Woodlands Stud Mr Roberts was associated with Haunui Farm, and later qualified as a veterinary surgeon based at Takanini. He became an expert on the reproductive aspect of breeding and more than six decades ago he helped set up the original swabbing proceedings on a national basis. In 1976 Mr Roberts established the Riverside Veterinary and 11 years later the Auckland Vet Centre in partnership with Andrew Grierson, who is now the leading advisor to both codes in all veterinary matters. In partnership with Grierson, Mr Roberts in 1987, bought what was then ‘Harness World’ at a mortgagee sale. They returned its original title of Woodlands and revolutionised standardbred breeding in New Zealand by concentrating on shuttling stallions from the United States and then buying the Southern Hemisphere rights. In The Pocket was the first and his line changed the face of breeding in this country. Then Bettor’s Delight made an even greater impact, now dominating premierships on both sides of the Tasman as well as premierships in North America. He has also been our most dominant forces at recent yearling sales. The 15 people to receive a commemorative plaque and Hall Of Fame cap were: TRAINING ACHIEVEMENT (500 wins or more): Tim Butt – 583 wins and $7,406,072. Tony Herlihy (MNZM) – 670 wins and $8,304,330. Doug Gale – 524 wins and $4,809,758. John Hay – 530 wins and $4,168,136. Grant Payne (Mark Purdon) – 585 wins and $14,433,012. David and Catherine Butt ¬– 676 wins and $5,420,711 DRIVING ACHIEVEMENT (1,000 wins or more): Dexter Dunn – 1,232 wins and $12,047,272. David Butt – 1,100 wins and $9,789,301. Ken Barron – 1,024 wins and $8,557,176. Jim Curtin – 1,430 wins and $11,225,559. 3,000 WINS: Maurice McKendry – 3,002 and $25,452,271. OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HARNESS RACING: Charlie Roberts. Alby Gain. Bob McArdle Pat O’Brien. Note: Statistics were as at March 10, 2014. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing NZ)

Last week was a memorable one for the New Zealand bets of the week ring-around. Aside from my three tips which all won, Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, Gavin Smith, Jim Curtin, Ricky May, and Todd Mitchell also tipped out winners. The best result was Gavin Smith’s bet of the week in The Mighty Falcon, who got home at odds of $10, while my value bet of the week Scotlynn Jiggs ($7) wasn’t too far behind. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Andrew Armour: Thinks two-year-old First Flight In is a good each-way prospect in the fourth race at Gore on Sunday. Anthony Butt: Thinks talented two-year-old The Jazzman will be tough to beat from his inside alley in the eighth race at Forbury Park tonight. Blair Orange: Rates the chances of Strike On Command in the last race at Forbury Park tonight. Craig Thornley: Will take the reins behind Franco Harrington at Reefton where he expects him to be very hard to beat. David Butt: Thinks Georgie Mach can go back-to-back in the eighth race at Westport on Friday. Gavin Smith: Who was last week’s top tipster, has opted for True Legend in the fourth race at Westport on Friday. Jim Curtin: Thinks the talented but enigmatic Sunchita can win the tenth race at Westport on Friday. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of Sharpenuff in the eighth race at Gore on Sunday. Ken Barron: Thinks Sapling Stakes runner-up Mighty Flying Major will be tough to beat in race eight at Forbury tonight.  Mark Jones: Thinks The Ultimate Storm will take a power of beating in the third race at Forbury Park tonight.  Matthew Williamson: Expects Quick As A Trick to regain top form in the 12th race at Forbury tonight. Nathan Williamson: Thinks Aidan’s Rocket will be tough to toss in the last race at Gore on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has thrown out some value in the form of Goodboy Tiger – Forbury, race seven. Tim Williams: Thinks Waitoto Express has a good each-way chance in the seventh race at Gore on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Expects Cyclone Kate to be thereabouts in the Delightful Lady Classic at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bet: The Ultimate Storm – Forbury Park, race three Each-way: Linda Lovegrace – Alexandra Park, race four. Value: Whynotagrey – Gore, race two.

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