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Phoebe Standardbreds have announced that harness racing local trotting star Royal Aspirations is to stand at stud and he is an exciting late arrival to the “Fresh Semen Trotting Scene”. And at just $1,250 +GST he looks to be outstanding value.    A Jewels winner at two he went on to win the Sires Stakes at three and Sales Series races at two and three.   Racing in a quality crop that included Habibti, Sheemon, Quite A Moment  and Blitzthemcalder he set five NZ records, some of these in the most dominant of fashion, his massive motor literally destroying his opposition at times.   A stunning 16h individual, with a wonderful temperament- something he may not have always shown on the track. Track time meant race time, race time meant go as fast and hard as you can, for as long as you can!!!   Being a son of Monarchy, out of the Sundon broodmare “Gem” Aspiring Gal, makes him a half brother to two-year-old Jewels winner Jinga Gal and a full brother to Breeders Crown winner Triumphant Monarch. His grand dam being Aspiring Lass a sister to the mighty Arndon.   Standing at Phoebe Standardbreds, Broadfield, ChCh  alongside up and coming two-year-old trotting sire Imperial Count for “newbies” in the stallion game Grant & Di Beckett, Royal Aspirations should attract plenty of interest at an affordable fee.   Grant sees a bright future for Royal Aspirations and is looking forward to the large number of mares by Majestic Son coming on stream over the next few years. These mares, particularly the ones out of Sundon mares will be a superb cross for Royal Aspirations, not only bringing in a double up of our greatest sire Sundon. But also the proven Balanced Image/ Angus Hall cross.   Although new to the stallion game the Becketts have been breeding from 6 or 7 mares for the last eight or nine years with their best performers being Quite A Moment, KD Muscles, KD Hall, Hot Chocolate Tart and Phoebe Revival   This has been a big learning curve and I would like to acknowledge our vet, Becky Reid and Richard Aubrey(former studmaster at Roydon Lodge) who is a huge asset to have helping on collection days.   Semen can be ordered and shipped around the country in the normal manner, with the first pregnancy tests occurring later this week.   Pgg Wrightson Nz Yearling Sales Series 21 Open Mobile Trot     Mitre 10 Mega Cambridge 2yo Ruby Mobile Trot     Pgg Wrightson Nz Yearling Sales Series Trotters Final(mob)     Hutton Racing Stables S/stakes Trotters Championship(mob)     Cambridge 3yo Trotting Stakes(mobile)     Glenferrie Farm 4yo/5yo Trotters Championship Handicap Trot   Methven Four Square Supermarket Trotters Green (Mobile) Mile   For further information contact Grant Beckett Phoebe Standardbreds 0211601080

In a dramatic climax to the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters, emerging harness racing stayer Temporale proved triumphant tonight (Friday) in the Gr.1 $156,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park. Prepared by champion horseman Tony Herlihy, the four-year-old Monarchy gelding finished fast along the passing lane to beat quality mare and race favourite Habibti Ivy and Bordeaux in a driving finish. The victory provided Herlihy with his 5th success in the event. Previous winners came via Gee Du Jour (1991), Diamond Field (1994) and One Over Kenny (2007 & 09). Beginning brilliantly to lead, Temporale was quickly taken on by Habibti Ivy before Prime Power attacked for the premier position. With Todd Mitchell dictating terms in front with Prime Power, the lead time was covered in 2:07.1 while Habibti Ivy and Temporale both secured soft trips on the inside. The first half of the final mile was covered in 32.9 and 30.1 seconds. With little or no pressure applied to Prime Power, the race quickly developed into a sprint home with those close to the marker line holding the advantage. Heading off the back straight, Prime Power tripped the third quarter in 28.8 seconds while Habibti Ivy and Temporale sat poised waiting on the passing lane. In the straight, Habibti Ivy quickly raced to the lead but Temporale was coming fast deep into the sprint lane and scored by a neck margin at the finish with a further length away to Bordeaux in third. The final quarter was timed in 28.8 seconds. The Cup was covered in 4:07.9 – a mile rate of 2:04.6, well outside of the race record of 4:03.6 which is held by Stent who set the mark in 2015. “He’s a nice little trotter that got away perfectly and ended up with easy trip on the inside, he sprinted really well in the straight and it’s a pleasing victory.” Herlihy said. Since returning from a break, Temporale has been placed in four of his five starts which includes two victories. Temporale has now won 6 of his 18 starts with 9 minor placings while amassing more than $170,000. Temporale Not only were runners vying for the lucrative prizemoney and bragging rights for the North Island’s major trotting event, the race was on to be crowned the Trotting Master for the current term. Heading into the final leg of the five race series, the leaderboard was a logjam with 11 runners a chance of picking up the title. Sydney trained performer On Thunder Road led the way with 101 points but connections elected to bypass the remaining two legs staged in Auckland during the past week leaving the door open for a New Zealander to swoop. And swoop they did. With her victory last week in the ANZAC Cup followed by her second placing in the Rowe Cup, flashy mare Habibti Ivy has come from virtual obscurity to be crowned the 2016/17 Trotting Master. Habibti Ivy is prepared by Paul Nairn. Chris Barsby

Southland Harness Racing Trainer/Driver Nathan Williamson has his eyes firmly set on a personal milestone and will look to take another step or two towards his goal tomorrow at Rangiora. Currently sitting on 85 driving victories for the season, 7 in front of his previous best of 78 wins in 2013, Williamson is looking to post his first century. With just 6 weeks of the season remaining, that means you will see Nathan traveling around more, starting with Rangiora tomorrow (Sunday). Down to drive Pyramid Mustang in the first race for father Phil, the 3yo Monarchy gelding will be well backed after a last start 2nd at Forbury Park. In an even bunch of maiden trotters, that could be win number 86. In Race 5, Nathan will drive Hannity for Timaru based trainer Colin Harrison, who was a handy 3rd on debut, although the 4yo Lis Mara gelding does meet a field full of some handy 2yo's including Time Traveller for Cran Dalgety. Bobbins will be another Phil Williamson runner in with a good chance tomorrow. Set to start of 10m, the 4yo mare has been good without being spectacular lately, but in an even field she could be the upset chance. The best chance of Nathan's day has to be his own runner Sun's Invasion, who is a clear stand out in Race 9. Her form since a spell has been outstanding and even from a tricky draw, it could be another step closer to the century for Williamson. Williamson will finish off his day with Just Ben in the last race of the day. He will need some luck in a handy field. Andrew Fitzgerald

Harness Racing Driver Sam Ottley is enjoying the best week of her career at the moment. After her win with Rocker Band in the 4yo Diamond on Jewels day last Saturday, Ottley hasn't looked back and went on to record a treble at today's Nelson Harness Racing Club's meeting. It was three wins in the space of four races for the Woodend based reins women, which included a double for her employer Mark Jones. Although it all started with the upset of the day in Race 4, when Ottley reined home Feel Real for Kaiapoi trainer Glenn Scott paying a whopping $44.40 and $7.00. With the favourite galloping early, Sam had the 3yo Real Desire filly straight into the trail, behind the Jones driven, Southbrook. From there on it was just a small matter of having to get past Southbrook and first starter Regal Grin, who was ultra brave on debut for Ken Barron and the goHarness Buy, Race and Sell Syndicate. In the next it was Kowhai Monarch who got the chocolates for Ottley and Jones. The 4yo gelding by Monarchy is owned by J G & Mrs D J Hartnell and recorded his 3rd career victory when winning by 1 ¾ lengths over Clifden Clowers (John Morrison) and ¾ lengths to Yankee Commando (Murray Edmonds) in 3rd. Ottley left the best for last with her drive on Croft Bay, who was drawn awkwardly on the back row. Sitting near last with a lap to run, Ottley was off and gone to sit parked before being able to out toughen the rest of the field and recording a neck victory over Ardent Lustre (Blair Orange). All three runners will back up tomorrow for the 2nd day of the meeting, with Kowhai Monarch looking Sam's best chance to double up. Andrew Fitzgerald

He was regarded as a certainty beat on debut after breaking but today after a safe getaway Takenoprisoners did exactly that.   The three year old gelding by Monarchy was made a $1-40 favourite at Ascot Park today and trainer driver Nathan Williamson allowed him to settle in fifth place early. He followed up Spur Wing up with 1800 metres to run. At the 1500 metre mark Williamson took the lead and he wasn't extended to beat Jackofdiamonds by a length and a quarter.   "I was a bit more cautious with him over that first bit because the other day he went a 100 - 150 metres and had a gallop," said Williamson.   Takenoprisoners was purchased by Williamson at the 2014 Sale for the Stars for $18,000 and is out of seven win Sundon mare Del's Hoof N It. She ran third in the Group Three Canterbury Park Trotting Cup behind Stig and Houdini Star.   "He's a big bugger so he's taken a bit of time. He's had a few preparations as a two and three year old. He was ready to go to the qualifying trials with my early ones last time but because he was so big and was lighting up in condition we put him aside which was the best thing for him."   Williamson said the gelding will be given a few more starts so he can learn the trade.    "He doesn't show a lot at home but he does when I take him off the place. If he keeps improving he'll have a nice future. He'll do a wee bit of racing over the winter. When the spring grass comes he can go out for a good break."   Meanwhile Williamson is unsure of the future of Tas Man Bromac. The class four gelding which has won nine races finished his season with a gallant fifth on Saturday in the Four Year Old Emerald at the Harness Jewels at Cambridge.    "He went a nice good honest race. We just needed a bit more luck on the day but it didn't eventuate. We haven't decided whether he stays here or not. He'll either be sold or having a break."     Bruce Stewart

If there has been one nagging question about the winning streak of Harriet Of Mot, it was how would the latest queen of trotting handle the rough and tumble of open class harness racing when she met the best around on equal terms.   We got the answer in no uncertain terms today during the Northern Southland Meeting at Ascot Park in Invercargill when Harriet of Mot showed real toughness to go with her trademark speed to put a field of in-form talented  trotters away with ease and in doing so she stamped herself as the big mover in the trotting ranks for next season.   Bordeaux with Ricky May in the bike had won his last five in a row and he worked to the front soon after the start and stayed there until attacked by Jag's Invasion and Nathan Williamson who grabbed the front with just over a lap to go.   Not long after that John Dunn sent Harriet Of Mot forward from back in the running line and she landed on Jag's Invasion wheel with 600 metres to go.   Nathan and Jag's Invasion seemed to put half a length on Harriet Of Mot as they straightened but once she had balanced up, Harriet Of Mot strode to the front with ease and went to the line with plenty left in the tank for another impressive victory.   Jag's Invasion stuck on gamely for second, continuing his recent return to form after shifting to the beach with Golden Gate making ground late well for third.   Harriet Of Mot trotted the 3200 metres today in 4:05.3 which broke the track record held by Springbank Sam by 1:8 seconds and the mares record held by Bonspiel Tui by 7:6 seconds.     John Dunn was more than happy with the progress Harriet Of Mot is making.   “That was another step up in class today and she handled it really well.”   “It is a big learning curve for them when they have to face those open class horses on level terms so to come through it that and still win is another big step forward.”   “We are hoping that in the spring she will have learnt the ring-craft to take on the best and so far everything is on track.”   “I would love to get a trip one day with her where she could come off the back of a horse after a soft trip as she has blinding speed if driven like that and it would be hard for any trotter going around, to beat her in those circumstances,” John said.   Today was Harriet Of Mot's fifth win in a row and her tenth from just 16 starts and took her earnings past the $77,000 mark for the Go Harness Trotting For Fun Syndicate.   The Monarchy mare is shaping up as one of the big movers on the trotting scene in New Zealand and the rising five year old seems to have all the attributes to make it to the very top.   Harnesslink Media

Newly adopted Victorian trotter Our Overanova will start this weekend in the Gr.1 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton. Recently transferred to the harness racing stables of talented horseman Mick Stanley at Burrumbeet, near Ballarat, Our Overanova lines up in the second $50,000 qualifying heat where he takes on star performers Keystone Del and boom Kiwi Speeding Spur. Our Overanova will start from gate four in the 1720m feature event. And a forward showing is expected according to his new mentor. “He’s a great addition to the stable and although we’re still getting to know one another, he’s in great order and I’m confident he can do enough to qualify for the final. This is something new for both of us but I’m looking forward to the challenge.” Stanley said. The Great Southern Star is the ultimate test of speed and endurance, this event will showcase the very best of Australasian Trotting. It is the only event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere with horses racing off in Elimination Heats in order to qualify for a starting place in the Final on the same program. Total stakes for this year’s event will be $400,000. In order to qualify for the final which caters for ten runners, both qualifying heat winners gain automatic entry while the remaining eight places in the final will be taken by the horses with the eight fastest times from the two elimination heats. Our Overanova had little luck last start in the Gr.1 $54,000 Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park Menangle when 9th behind On Thunder Road after copping an early check before making a break himself. The Monarchy gelding is yet to miss to place in three starts at Melton to date.   “We’re clearly in the strongest heat with the likes of Keystone Del and Speeding Spur among others lining up but I’m more than happy with the way he’s worked for me in preparation for this series since he arrived last week. “His overall record is very impressive and every time he’s ventured south previously, he’s always performed well including his efforts down here last year when he was with Luke and Belinda (McCarthy). “While I’m yet to discuss tactics with Greg (Mitchell – owner), my early thoughts are to go back at the start because I can see plenty of early pressure with the likes of Michael Thomas, El Paco and Speeding Spur all looking to go forward to work Keystone Del from his inside draw. But that decision will ultimately rest with Greg so I’m fairly open at this point, I’m sure we’ll work out a game plan which will give us a great opportunity of qualifying.” Meanwhile, Stanley was active at last week’s Australian Pacing Gold yearling sale in Brisbane with owner Grantley Davis securing two lots. Davis paid $15,000 for lot 427, an Always A Virgin – Layback Cullen filly before buying lot 449, a Shadow Play – Too Much Rum colt for $13,000. Both youngsters are eligible for the exclusive $100,000 Sales race next year at Albion Park. by Chris Barsby

With the yearling sales just ten days away now, all the vendors at this years sales have long ago finalized all their advertising and promotion of their stock. The photos and videos are up and all the vendors can hope for is that the prospective buyers are as taken with their yearlings as they are. One way that the odd vendor can get a lift in the last ten days or so before a sale is if close relatives to their offerings make a bit of a splash on the racing scene. Last weekend the very successful broodmare Juverna had stock winning races all over Australasia which can only bode well for the sale prospects of her Majestic Son filly on the first day of this years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Selling as Lot 250, The Best Moment Yet had three siblings salute the judge on both sides of the Tasman in the space of 24 hours. First up was Quite A Moment who was ultra impressive winning a $20,000 trot at Melton where she easily accounted for the very smart Maori Time and One Over Da Moon. The daughter of Quite Easy simply bolted in and it was a run that really impressed driver Ricky May. " She won that so easily the other night I think she would be more than competitive against the best trotters going around and I think Greg is considering that option," Ricky told Harnesslink earlier in the week. It was her 14th career victory and took her earnings over the $258,000 mark. Two hours later at Albion Park, Duke Of The Moment kept the momentum going when he took out the trotters handicap. The son of Monarchy was recording his 18th career victory which took his lifetime earnings to just shy of $158,000. Come Sunday in New Zealand and the icing on the cake for Juverna was the performance of her Love You daughter Moment Of Love, who brained them by eight and a half lengths at the Wairarapa meeting at the Manawatu Raceway. Grant Beckett, the vendor of The Best Moment Yet at this years sales is still shaking his head over the three progeny winning last weekend. " With the sales just around the corner, to have three winners from the mare in just one weekend was a huge thrill. " The best advertising you can ever get is the progeny winning races and to have three do it together is a great achievement." " I already thought that The Best Moment Yet would sell well because I think she is best yearling on type that Juverna has produced so the three winners is really a bonus," Grant told Harnesslink earlier today.  Grant has a second yearling from the family that he is selling on the second day of the New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch as Lot 432 A daughter of Lucky Chucky 1:50.8 ($2,099,973) who sired a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner from his first crop, the filly is named Luck Of The Moment and is from a Sundon daughter of Juverna. " She has just been a bit behind the other filly all the way through but has closed the gap just lately and has a lot of the family traits of Juverna so I have a bit of time for her," was Grant's opinion of her when talking to us today. Juverna has since produced a colt by Peak but it has already been sold. " Tim Butt was very keen to buy him so he has changed hands already and I put her back in foal to Peak." "Sunny Moment didn't have a foal this year but she is safely in foal to Andover Hall now," Grant said.  Juverna is from as good a trotting family results wise over the last twenty years as there is in the New Zealand stud book. The three winners last weekend is just a timely reminder to yearling buyers of how good this family is. Harnesslink Media

New Zealand's leading junior driver Brad Williamson is having one of those seasons that just keeps getting better and better. Week in, week out, Brad is churning out the winners at a great rate and the run he is experiencing is showing no signs of abating. Today at Winton Racetrack Brad added another three winners to this season's tally and showed why he is so highly rated by a lot of his contemporaries on the track. "That is the first time I have driven three winners in one day so it was a big thrill especially because I only had four drives on the program," Brad explained when talking to Harnesslink this afternoon His first winner came in the form of the three year old trotter Sam Galleon who after missing away and settling a long way from the leaders, got over the top of them late in the piece for an impressive victory. The son of The Pres looked pretty green throughout the run and looks to have plenty of upside going forward. "He has got a lot to learn but there is no doubting the ability is there." "He is a half brother to three open class trotters so he is bred to be above average." "There is a lot of improvement there yet when he learns a bit more ringcraft," Brad said. Brad's second winner today was the smart Monarchy mare Pyramid Monarch who backed up her impressive second at Addington last Friday night to Harriet Of Mot with an impressive front running victory. Away brilliantly from her 30 metre handicap to grab the lead after just 400 metres, Pyramid Monarch was never in danger afterwards, coasting down to the line for an easy victory. It was win number eight for the mare and her fourth this season and took her earnings over the $70,000 mark. "She is such a lovely mare to drive." "Her manners are great and she tries so hard every time she goes to the races." "She is just a little money making machine at the moment and I don't think she is finished yet," Brad said. Brad's third winner was the four year old Real Desire gelding Dissolution who surprised everybody by sitting parked out the whole journey and still having enough petrol in the tank to scoot away and win easily in the end. "He is really starting to come into his own this horse." "Not long ago he wouldn't have been able to do that but he has been a big improver recently and that was a good effort today," Brad said. Todays wins took Brad's tally for the season to an impressive 41 victories which is 23 ahead of the chasing pack and barring injury he looks to have the New Zealand Junior Driving premiership in the bag with six months of the season still to go. Harnesslink Media      

When your luck runs out, it’s out. But it will change in time. This is the conundrum with talented Queensland trotter Our Overanova who was primed to tackle the nation’s best during the Victorian Summer of Glory harness racing carnival which is currently underway. After being left grounded in Brisbane when his flight was cancelled at the last minute, he’s now battling a low-grade virus. “What’s the old saying, that’s racing or something to that effect? It’s very unfortunate the timing but it’s not all doom and gloom and he is showing signs of improvement. We’re pulling another blood at the end of this week and that will paint a clearer picture and determine what path we take for our southern ventures.” Owner Greg Mitchell said. After resuming from a short let-up, the Monarchy gelding looked set to tackle the Victorian features at Melton after scoring two impressive victories at Albion Park in solid time under mobile conditions. The Grant Dixon prepared trotter was set to tackle a raft of feature events in Melbourne culminating with the Gr.1 $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star at Melton on March 12. While the aim remains with the March 12 heat/final feature, a revised route to Melbourne appears likely. “All going to plan and with a clean bill of health later this week, I intend on racing him in Sydney at Tabcorp Park Menangle in the Gr.1 Trotters Cup over the marathon distance at the end of the month and then hopefully we head further south straight after that race. “Obviously the depth around is the deepest it’s been for a long time but my horse deserves his chance and I’m keen to give him that shot against the best. I have no doubt he can handle the format of the Great Southern Star with the heat/final on the same night. “We will give him a start at Albion Park before heading to Sydney, he was very fit before the setback so I’m sure he’ll come to hand quickly once he’s up and going again. We should know exactly where we’re at by Friday afternoon and that gives us time to be fully fit before heading south.” The Gr.1 $50,000 TAB Trotters Cup over 3009m is scheduled for Sunday, February 28. And the Dixon stable will be looking at having representation on the feature day of racing with talented three-year-olds Get In The Groove and Frankie Rocks also being considered for the Gr.1 $200,000 Oaks and Derby respectively. The main event that day will be the $750,000 Miracle Mile, the final leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit for 2015/16. by Chris Barsby

The lure of southern riches has proved too strong for Queensland trotter Our Overanova. With the Victorian Summer of Glory carnival set to launch this weekend and with the squaregaiting talent at an all-time high, harness racing fans have never had it better. And with this amazing depth spread across the southern hemisphere and most of it converging on Melbourne in the coming months, spots in these feature events will be as hard to gain as victory itself. The Gr.1 $300,000 Great Southern Star on March 12 at TABCORP Park, Melton is the main event. Originally, connections of Our Overanova were planning on starting in the Gr.3 $20,000 Aldebaran Park Melton Trotters Cup on Saturday week at Melton but a change of plans occurred following the decision from the Grant Dixon stable to chase a spot in the Victoria Derby. Dixon has both Frankie Rocks and Leos Best engaged in heats of the Derby series at Ballarat this weekend, therefore, the team is flying south this week. “It doesn’t really change too much for us with Nova, rather than starting next week, we will now start in a heat of the trotting championship instead. He’s come back in good form following his let-up and we were always heading to Melbourne to chase some of the bigger races.” Owner Greg Mitchell said. Our Overanova starts in a heat of the Gr.1 $50,000 Apco Australasian Trotting Championship series, the final is scheduled for next week at Melton. The Monarchy gelding has won two of his three starts this campaign, both victories coming under mobile conditions while his defeat came after starting from a 50m handicap at Albion Park. “The mobile start victories have been really good, he was just outside of the track record first-up after racing without cover while his latest victory was also very thorough. I was hoping to see him crush them but that’s not really his style. “Looking back at his sole defeat this campaign, we backed up him within a week after recording such fast time and he also had the big handicap. It was a little ambitious on our part but he’s taken no harm from it and we’re good to go this weekend.” Our Overanova is no stranger to Melbourne after filling placing’s in the E B Cochran Trotters Cup, Uncle Petrika FFA and the Bruce Skeggs Memorial Trotters Cup last year. Now the seasoned trotter returns and is ready to take on the best. And he faces the best this weekend with boom Kiwi performer Monbet drawn in his heat, the Greg Hope trained star is a winner of his past four starts which includes three features. “There’s no hiding anymore, not at this level and you must be prepared to beat the best if you’re going to win the best races. Monbet looks very exciting while Arboe looks like she could be just as good, if not better but we were always going to meet this grade of trotter at some stage. “I think our guy will race well again, he hasn’t seen the front-line under standing start conditions for some time and the distance will suit him. He’s a very solid trotter and he always performs so I’m confident he can qualify.” Our Overanova is expected to back-up in the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Melton on February 6. by Chris Barsby  

Pukekohe harness racing trainer James Stormont is looking forward to this Friday night at Alexandra Park when he will have his star trotter Mum's Pride back at the races. One of the finds of last season in the trotting ranks, Mum's Pride has had a couple of workouts this time in to fit him for Friday night. " The first workout was against maidens so you can't read too much into it but his second workout was against some nice trotters and he won it easily so I am happy where he is at fitness wise heading into his first race." " He is probably only 80-85% going into the race but he will be very competitive still," James said. The last run of Mums Pride last season was in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton and James takes some of the blame for him only finishing sixth. " I just didn't have him 100% on the day and it was his first trip away from home so it all got to him a bit." " He is still a very inexperienced horse having only raced fourteen times so there is plenty of improvement in him yet" James said. This season James plans to take a leaf out of Colin De Filippi's book with Stent and look after his young trotter as he makes his way in the top grade. " I was having a talk to Frank, (Weaver) the owner the other day and we agreed that if look after him this season then we will reap the rewards further down the track. " Colin did it with Stent and Kevin Townley did the same with Sheemon so it is a proven way to go," James said. This season to date has been a bit quiet for James but he can see things turning around in the next few weeks. " With Mums Pride back on the track this week and a couple more from the team not that far away, things should be a lot busier in the next few weeks." "Having said that, there is always room in the barn for a couple more," James said. Mums Pride looked an exciting trotter in the making last season and he will be a welcome addition to the open class ranks in the north this season. Harnesslink Media

The open class trotting ranks are already brimming with talent and they were strengthened further today when Monbet announced his arrival at the elite level with an emphatic harness racing victory in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Free For All at Addington on Cup Day. The four year old son of Monarchy had always looked well above average at three and at four he has come back bigger and better.   Settling three back in the running line, driver Ricky May pressed the go button at the 400 metres mark and he looped the field and shot clear for an easy win.   Trainer Greg Hope was full of praise for Monbet, post-race.   "He showed today that he can compete with the very best and I'm thrilled with the run."   "I know Stent and Master Lavros weren't there today but they have their grand final on Friday and Monbet's grand final was today."   "I am 99.9% confident that Monbet won't be lining up in the Dominion on Friday."   "From here we will head to Auckland," Greg said.   Ricky May was happy things had worked out as planned.   "We thought there was plenty of speed on the front line so we decided to stay out of the early burn and settle handy.   "When I asked him to go he looped them pretty easily actually."   "He has pacer like speed if you can save him for one run but he is a great stayer as well so he is the complete package," Ricky said.   Greg and Nina Hope have been very patient with Monbet and are now starting to reap the rewards.     Harnesslink Media

Patience is something all harness racing trainers have to have in spades as a lot of horses can be very trying at the best of times. Even though Mon Ritchie had only had four starts prior to tonight at Addington Raceway, the four year old son of Monarchy has been displaying plenty of ability right from the time he had been broken in. However a series of little niggles have held him back, especially his propensity to tie up. Away well tonight for driver Leo O'Reilly, Mon Ritchie settled in the trail behind the tearaway leader Landora's Logan and didn't have to move until they turned for home where he showed a sharp turn of foot to shoot clear for a decisive win. Leo O'Reilly was all smiles post race. " He deserved that tonight after having no luck a couple of times. " We got a bit squeezed up just after the start but he handled it well." " He went super at Methven after missing away but he was really relaxed tonight and never looked like putting a foot wrong. " One thing that he does have is high speed and that is a big positive going forward." " The C1 grade wont hold any fears for him either," Leo said The trainer Don Ross was not present tonight having gone to Melbourne for the Robbie Williams concert but he will be on hand for the geldings next start which will be on Cup Day. Leo has always had a bit of time for Mon Ritchie. " Tonight was crunch night for him as we had an eye on the C1 trot on Cup Day so there was a bit of pressure on." " Now that he has qualified for Cup Day, I think he will more than hold his own and with his speed is a real chance with a run to suit," Leo said. Patience is never easy when you have a nice horse but it looks as though Don Ross will reap the rewards for giving Mon Ritchie plenty of time. Harnesslink Media  

Respected harness racing trainer Phil Williamson knew his runner Pyramid Monarch would go her usual honest race last night at Addington Raceway. " From the draw, I knew she would give a good account of herself"  " She always gives you her best and the field wasn't as strong as she had faced in her last couple," Phil said. The six year old daughter of Monarchy has been a great money spinner for her owners with last nights win taking her earnings over the $50,000 mark for a C2 trotter. " We have taken advantage of all the concessions on the way through and its paid off." " She has all the attributes of a high class trotter but just lacks that real staying ability to go with her speed," Phil said. Sent straight to the front last night by driver Brad Williamson, Pyramid  Monarch always looked in control before brushing home in 58 and 27.6 for an easy win. " I didn't really use her out of the gate as she is not the type of mare you can use at both ends." " I let her get to the front under her own steam without pushing her." " She was fair bolting off the back the last time and I was pretty confident a fair way out." " The 1950 metres suits her a lot more than those 2600 metres races where she can battle to find the line. " To be honest she is a lot better in front but she just doesn't get there very often," Brad said. Pyramid Monarch is bred to be a bit better than average, coming from the Sir Roy McKenzie inspired "Diedre " breed which is red hot at the moment with Monbet and Conon Bridge just two of the many from the family who are flying at present. " She should make a lovely broodmare when her racing days are over," Phil said. Going by the ease of last nights win, that may be a wee while away yet. Harnesslink Media  

When leading harness racing trainer Greg Hope was looking for a close relative of his star trotter Monbet to purchase as a broodmare, he never for one moment envisaged that she would win back her purchase price before going to stud. But that is exactly what happened when Greg purchased the talented Monarchy mare The Earth Moved for $12,000. " I had a serious look at another mare from the family but she had suffered a broken knee earlier in her life and I was worried about how that may play out down the line." "When I sent her home, they offered me The Earth Moved who had just been sent back by the people who had her on lease."  " I really liked her straight away and brought her soon after," Greg told Harnesslink this week. Not that the decision to buy The Earth Moved was unanimous in the Hope household. " Nina wasn't exactly that keen initially but I think she has come round now," Greg said. Greg purchased The Earth Moved near the end of August and in four starts since she has won three on the grit plus a fourth on the grass at Methven where she wasn't entirely happy on the puggy wet track. Since her purchase The Earth Moved has put $16,271 into the kitty and her latest win at Addington on Friday night was undoubtedly her best. Several lengths off the leader going past the 400 metres mark, The Earth Moved swooped down the outside for an emphatic victory in the hands of Ricky May. " She was always going to pick Young Stranger up in the straight before he had a late gallop, so I just eased her down the last bit ." " She has really high speed when saved for one run," Ricky said. Greg was rapt that The Earth Moved had grabbed that elusive sub two minute mile rate with her 1:59.3 rating in Friday nights win over 1950 metres. " It certainly doesn't hurt if you are selling them at the sales to have a bit of black print beside their name,  Greg said. And that is where the future of The Earth Moved lies, in the broodmare paddock. " I have booked her in to Love You" "Love You is available here this year through Dave Sanders which is great after he has missed the last two years." "The resulting foal will be a 3/4 brother or sister in blood to Monbet," Greg pointed out. With this years Australasian Breeders Crown two year old colts/geldings winner Conon Bridge being another close relative excelling on the track and Monbet looking to have come back even better at four, The Earth Moved is certainly looking one very valuable broodmare. Harnesslink Media 

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