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The outstanding son of Monarchy, Prime Power is due back at the workouts this weekend as he prepares for a season debut at Alexandra Park later in October or early November. The winner of eleven of twenty five starts to date, Prime Power has looked a real star in the making at times but after a brilliant start to his four year old season last year, his form fell away. Even though he ran a close third in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge in late May, Prime Power appeared to be short of his best. Trainer/driver Todd Mitchell is contented with his stable star as he prepares to take Prime Power to the workouts this weekend. " I am much happier with him than I was towards the end of his last campaign. He wasn't happy in himself and it showed on the track. A decent break and he has come back a much happier horse and much more like his old self" he said After the disappointing end to the last campaign, a decent break was what was needed but that meant that Prime Power was never going to be ready in time for Cup week at Addington. Todd thought he would have been cutting it really fine to have Prime Power ready for the Dominion Handicap.  " I could have tried to rush his preparation to get him ready but with such a big season in front of him  it made more sense to skip Cup week and set him for the Xmas carnival at Alexandra Park. He looks and feels a lot stronger this time in and his work leading into this week's workout has been super and I think he could be in for a big year" he said. A winner of the 3 year Harness Jewels in 1:56.5, Prime Power has the gate speed and manners to be a major player where ever he lines up this season on both sides of the Tasman. Harnesslink Media

The breeding season is here once again and harness racing is in good heart if the number of trotting stallions available this season is any guide. For the last two breeding seasons trotting bred mare numbers have been holding up remarkably well when compared to their pacing counterparts. The number of pacing mares has been slowly dropping for a wee while now Two seasons ago the number of pacing mares served numbered 2582 but last season saw another drop of 185 mares to bring the total served down to 2397 However in the 2012/2013 breeding season 644 trotting mares were served by 31 stallions and in the 2013/2014 breeding season 617 mares were served by 29 stallions. In light of those figures it is somewhat surprising that the number of trotting sires available to breeders has continued to grow, especially via frozen semen.  In the upcoming season the number of trotting stallions available to breeders has risen to 36. In the last breeding season only four stallions served more than 50 mares for the year and between them that four captured 319 of the mares served leaving just 298 mares for the other 25 stallions. It is little wonder the average trotting breeder is getting confused and having trouble sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Some of the trotting sires available via frozen semen are well established such as Andover Hall, Angus Hall, Muscle Hill, Love You and Muscles Yankee but quite a few are new to the stallion game in New Zealand and it is hard to gage where they sit in the overall scheme of things. Of those available via fresh semen last year, the North American owned Majestic Son served 161 mares in New Zealand and with the season his stock had on the track he should serve a large book again this year. Superfast Stuart (54)  Monarchy (51)  The Pres (50) and Monkey Bones (40) were other sires available via fresh semen last season who served reasonable numbers and they all have one thing in common.  These sires are owned in New Zealand and represent a major investment by the studs/owners but with the number of sires available via frozen semen growing to 26 this year they may have a struggle on their hands to attract mares. If the number of European and North American sires available via frozen semen continues to grow, the days of New Zealand studs and owners standing sires they own via fresh semen may be coming to an end. Weather that is in the best long term interests of the New Zealand industry is highly questionable. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainers will tell you that patience is a must have when developing racehorses and young trotters even more so. On Friday night at Addington the four year old mare Petite Royal rewarded the patience of trainer Robbie Holmes and owner Mark Nichel when she broke through for her maiden win at her ninth lifetime start. Purchased out of the 2012 Premier Sale at Addington by Nichel for $30,000, the daughter of Monarchy is bred to be something special. Petite Royal is the first foal from the very talented Sundon mare Petite Sunset 1:57.8 ($115,070) whose dam was none other than the champion trotter Pride Of Petite 1:57.4 ($811,816). The second foal from Petite Sunset is last seasons smart two year old winner by Angus Hall in Petite One. Petite Royal has always impressed Robbie right from the start. "She qualified at two and had a couple of starts but was becoming a bit hot so we put her aside"he said when speaking to Harnesslink this week. Brought back as a 3 year old, Petite Royal had five starts last season but again Robbie thought she was her own worst enemy. "She didnt like the mobile much and had a couple of other wee niggles and while she was winning trials, the hype of raceday was unsettling her and she was doing things wrong so we gave her another break." Brought back this season as a 4 year old, Petite Royal has been a lot more settled this time in and Robbie thought the first win wasn't far away and so it proved at Addington on Friday night. "She has matured and is a lot more settled this time in. I thought if I could grab the lead on Friday night and run them along she would be very hard to catch" he said. Which is exactly what happened with Petite Royal settling third early before Robbie sent her to the front after 600 metres. From there it was a one horse affair with Petite Royal having the foot down the whole way. She turned for home eight lengths clear and won easing down by 2 1/4 lengths in 3:25.7 for the 2600 metres stand. Robbie thinks there is a fair bit of upside for Petite Royal going forward. "She is a lovely mare to do anything with and now she has got the hang of the racing game she could go a fair way. She is actually a lot better with a sit where she can come off a horses back and really ping but I drove her in front on Friday night just to get that maiden win monkey off our back" he said Petite Royal's owner Mark Nickel has been a long time client of Robbie's and is a TAB operator from Wellington who races a lot of his horses with the "Tabman" handle. Petite Royal is just another example of the old theory that if you are patient with horses you will be rewarded in the long run. Harnesslink Media    

The harness racing trials at Addington today (September 22nd) saw more of the All Star team step out prior to starting new campaigns and judging by their performances, the all conquering barn is in for another bumper season. In conditions that could only be described as atrocious with gale force winds and driving rain, several members of the All Stars team looked forward to resume and some looked to have made the step up since they last raced. Arden Rooney led up in the open class heat in the worst of the conditions and sprinted his last 400 meters in a quick 26.9 to defeat stablemate Hands Christian who did well after missing away and settling 15 meters behind the bunch. The other stablemate the champion racemare Adore Me was on Hands Christian's back all the way up the straight and was not asked for a serious effort in finishing fourth. Earlier on the program Hug The Wind was super impressive in winning his heat after starting from barrier nine and looks in for a big spring campaign as a 3 year old. In a hot field including stablemate Alta Orlando, Elusive Chick and Johny Rock, Hug The Wind settled back early before working forward mid-race and finishing way to well for the competition. Hug The Wind could not have been more impressive and his resumption should be a winning one. Alta Orlando was not pushed to finish fourth and he should improve bigtime with that run under his belt. Another 3 year old in the All Star barn to impress was the full brother to Adore Me in Have Faith In Me who also started from barrier nine in his heat. Last early, he looped the field to sit parked from the 1000 meters and then kicked away in the straight for an easy win over Brilliant Strike with stablemates Holy Grail and Change Stride  finishing close up behind. Have Faith In Me looks to have taken the step up since his 2 year old season and could be a bit of a smoky for the upcoming sires stakes heat. Another All Star runner Superbowlcheerleader lead up in her heat but was was collared late by Vulcan who looked sharp for upcoming events. The first run this time in for Superbowlcheerleader, she should take a lot of benefit from her outing. One of the other horses to really impress today was the Geoff Dunn trained 3 year old trotter in Kaimanawa who bolted in by 42 lengths and over 8 seconds under the qualifying time in conditions that were far from ideal. Driven by part owner Tim Williams, the son of Monarchy looked a trotter of real quality as he came his his last quarter in 29.4 in terrible conditions. Trial results here Harnesslink Media

Young harness racing trainer Abbey Holdaway notched her second career win at Alexandra Park last night and but for a stroke of luck she may have been lost to the industry. After stints with Geoff Small and Dale Cameron, Holdaway was actually looking for employment in the administration sector when Todd Mitchell offered her part-time work. “I used to manage the Royal Oak Tab for a couple of years but always loved working with horses. "I didn’t think I could earn an income in the harness racing industry again until Todd offered me work." And then when Gene Robb left Mitchell’s early last year, Holdaway was offered full-time employment working alongside the four-time New Zealand Cup winning reinsman. She helps Mitchell work his team of about 13 in Tauwhare Holdaway was born in Auckland and educated at Pukekohe High School. “I wasn’t born into a harness racing family but soon learnt all about it when I was working for Geoff and then Dale. “Todd has also taught me heaps and I'm grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to train. "I am really enjoying it, I have no desire to drive – I’ll leave that to the professionals. Last night Abbey lined up the 5 year old Monarchy gelding Jogo Bonito for the first time in the CO trot over 2200 meters at Alexandra Park. Previously in the barn of part owner Steven Reid, Jogo Bonito had shown any amount of promise at his previous 12 starts, racking up four placings but never really delivering on his potential. Away safely for Abbey's boss and partner Todd Mitchell, Jogo Bonito settled fifth early before Todd slotted him into the one out one back position with 1400 meters to go. There was no changes from there until approaching the home turn where Todd peeled Jogo Bonito three wide and dashed away for a very impressive 5 3/4 length victory. Jogo Bonito trotted the 2200 meters from a stand in 2:54.1 with closing sectionals of 61.3 and 30. The way Jogo Bonito won tonight would suggest that Abbey Holdaway might not have to wait long for career win number three as a trainer. Harnesslink Media   

An interstate trip is on the cards for Queensland’s latest harness racing star Our Overanova. Successful at Albion Park last Saturday night, Our Overanova boasts the impeccable record of 13 wins from 14 starts for premier horseman Grant Dixon. Confident the son of Monarchy can continue his transition to the top, Dixon is contemplating a campaign at Tabcorp Park Menangle to “test the water in a TM0.” “I will let him get to his mark here first, then have a look at taking him interstate for a TM0,” Dixon said. “I’ve got no doubt he can win his maiden in town. “After that, we’ll just have to see how he progresses as to how far he can go. “It’s a quantum leap from the class he is racing to competing against the likes of My High Expectations. “That said, he is coming along really well and gives the impression he can win a good race down the track.” With Dixon in the cart during his latest outing, Our Overanova shrugged off a 30-metre handicap to score by four-and-a-half meters from Real Deal Yankee, with Lady Boomschukaluka two-and-a-half metres away third.  Covering the last half in 60.1 seconds, the five-year-old rated 2:01.7 for the 2647-metre journey. “That kind of handicap is never easy to overcome, but I thought he was a strong chance of winning again,” Dixon said. “Especially over 2647 metres as it gives him plenty of time to catch the field. “No disrespect to the other, but it’s not the hardest group of trotters we’ve had up here.” PAUL COURTS

The Chiola Hanover mare Rob The Nest has certainly made her mark on the harness racing scene over the years by leaving a string of high quality trotters and the production line doesn't look like it is finished yet. With progeny the likes of Galleon's Assassin ($327,286)  King Of Strathfield ($248,147)  Thedonsson ($124,793)  Sonofthedon ($67,030) and Whosinthenest ($66,701) to her credit, Rob The Nest has a stud record as good as any mare in the stud book. At Oamaru on Sunday (September 14th) another one of her progeny will make his debut on the racetrack in race one, the aptly named Monarchy Trot  and if his trial runs are anything to go by, then it should be a winning debut. Just Leave, a 5 year old son of Monarchy has created quite an impression at trials and workouts recently with his most recent win at Rangiora the most impressive as he won easing down by 3 lengths after sprinting the last 800 meters in 59.7 and 400 meters in 29.2. Just Leave is trained by Geoff Dunn at West Melton and raced by him with his breeder Neil Munro and will be driven by the in form reinsman Gerald O"Reilly. The Dunn/O"Reilly combination has been lethal in recent weeks and it has plenty of scope to build on that with Just Leave. One of the most pleasing things to emerge from his recent workouts and trials is the faultless manners of Just Leave which is a big plus for a trotter starting out. While Just Leave looks a standout to us, a couple of maidens in the Monarchy Trot have been knocking on the door and won't be pushovers. Davey's Gift from the Phil Williamson barn has been placed in all three runs this campaign and on his home track looms as the obvious danger to Just Leave. The other runner we like is Ethelsville from the Leo O'Reilly barn who has run  two top thirds in his last two starts and has to be given a show of taking this out. After that it is a bit hit and miss although the Robbie Holmes trained pair of Petite Royal and Nicaela have both trialed like trotters on the up in recent weeks. So for us it is Just Leave to make a winning debut from Davey's Gift and Ethelsville with Petite Royal and Nicaela for trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media

One of the more established races for trotters on the harness racing calendar is the time honoured Ordeal Trotting Cup. Established in 1965 in honour of the great trotter Ordeal 1:59.3 ($83,053) who was an early trailblazer in North America, the race has been won by some champions over the years like Sir Castleton and Take A Moment. This years Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington tomorrow night has brought together a smart group of open class trotters headed by last weeks stunning winner Habibti. Missing away from the stand last week and settling eight lengths behind the pack should have spelt the end of Habibti's chances but as champions do, she picked herself up and reeled them in late for a stunning win. It was her first run for over eight months and she should have derived a lot of benefit from the outing.  With the Ordeal Trotting Cup being a mobile event Habibti would appear very hard to beat but her draw of eight and a much stronger field than last week means she is no certainty. Sheemon from barrier seven with Dexter Dunn in the bike is a big danger to Habibti. The son of Monarchy was a touch below the best at three but at four stepped up and got better as the season went on with his win in the Jewels a highlight. Only out of the money five times in 36 starts, Sheemon is as reliable as he is talented. The interesting runner in the field is a son of the great Angus Hall in Imperial Count who is having his first race night run in New Zealand after a great career in North America. The winner of $854,903 in North America and with a best time of 1:53.2, Imperial Count was good enough as a three year old to compete in the $1,000,000 Canadian Trotting Derby so at his best he would be very competitive here. He hasn't raced for 15 months and his trials have been ok without being special but there is no doubting that the ability is there and he does have the Butt brothers in his corner. The other six runners are all in good touch for this early in the season but with the class of the field going up a notch from last week it is hard to see any of them rolling Habibti, Sheemon and Imperial Count. Uncas, Clover Don and King Of Strathfield are the three we like to round out the trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing recently saw the brilliant Monarchy gelding Sovereignty retired due to soundness problems and he has been joined in the retirement paddock today by another Monarchy gelding in Stylish Monarch who has also succumbed to soundness problems. Trained for all but one start in his career  by his Timaru trainer Murray Tapper, Stylish Monarch at his peak was as good as any trotter going around in New Zealand in the last ten years.  Between 2009 and 2011, Stylish Monarch was the horse they all had to beat in the big trotting races in New Zealand. Partnered with champion reinsman Ricky May through most of his career, Stylish Monarch claimed two New Zealand Trotting Championships (Group One) over the brilliant I Can Doosit and a stunning win in the Group Two Flying Mile at Cambridge over Sovereignty in 1:57.5. The biggest win for Stylish Monarch was undoubtedly his victory in the Group One $200,000 Dominion Handicap where he again defeated I Can Doosit in a stunning 4:02.9 for the 3200 meters from a stand. Plagued by soundness issues, Stylish Monarch was retired in August of 2013. However around May this year Murray Tapper took Stylish Monarch back to the stables because he was looking so well in the paddock. The plan was to use him as a training partner for the younger horses in the stable but Stylish Monarch was so impressive and sound that Tapper decided to try to get him back to the races. The first few trials were encouraging but after a less than stellar performance at his fourth trial, Stylish Monarch came up sore a few days later. So Stylish Monarch goes to the retirement paddock having faced the starter just 60 times for 17 wins and 21 placings for $500,620 in stakes. Harness racing today is dominated by the big stables in the main but Stylish Monarch and Murray Tapper proved once again that the little guy can still succeed at the top level. Harnesslink Media    

The battle for the title for leading sire of 4 year olds for the 2013/2014 harness racing season in New Zealand was a one horse affair with Bettors Delight finishing just under a million dollars in front. While that was a comprehensive win, the issue of a much larger crop once again helped to cement in that dominance. As Mach Three proved in the 3 year old division, numbers are really important.  Bettors Delight as is the norm for this great sire produced a freakish mare in Adore Me who was the top earning 4 year old of either sex. His colts and geldings were a handy lot as well but not in the class of Adore Me. The overall numbers for Bettors Delight are outstanding which has been par for the course throughout his siring career. The only negative if you wanted to be picky was the continued lack of any sire prospects emerging from each crop. Bettors Delight can produce champion mares like no other sire but his colts and geldings while very talented are not in the champion class. His best colts and geldings were headed by Elios 1:55 ($149,762) Arden Rooney 1:55.4 ($121,462) and Give The Wink 1:58 ($62,216) The best mares were headed by Adore Me 1:52.4 ($355,658) The Fascinator 1:58.9 ($47,601) and Maloo 2:00.4 ($30,022) Foals - 234 Winners (Aust / NZ) 114 % Winners / Foals - 48.71 Stakes (NZ) $1,803,565 Mach Three finished second nearly a million dollars behind Bettors Delight and a big part of that was the lack of contribution from his mares. While there was plenty of them on the track, they were a touch disappointing overall Mach Three did have a string of very nice colts which were all good enough to go around in the major classics. His overall percentages were up there with Bettor's Delight. His colts/geldings were headed by Cyamach 1:58.8 ($56,584)  Fifth Edition 1:56.6 ($56,251) and Machs Gladiator 1:57.7 ($50,642). His mares were led by Russley Haste 1:59.8 ($36,238) along with Clarisa 1:59.9 ($20,283) and Channell Bromac 1:59.1 ($18,932). Foals - 163 Winners (Aust / NZ) 75 % Winners / Foals - 46.01 Stakes (NZ) $823,098 Third on the sires list was the champion sire Christian Cullen who had a quieter year than normal. Even in a quieter year Christian Cullen managed to produce two horses that look capable of winning Grand Circuit races. Franco Nelson 1:53.1 ($174,990) and Saveapatrol 1:56.9 ($98,127) both look to have huge futures in front of them going by their performances this season. His mares racing in New Zealand were a touch disappointing but that was due in no small way to the fact his best two mares from that crop in Delightful Christian 1:52.1 ($368,611) and Opulent 1:57.3 ($188,047) were racing in Australia. Foals - 122 Winners (Aust / NZ) - 46 % Winners / Foals - 37.70 Stakes - $583,148 The trotting division was as clear cut as the pacing division with Monarchy completely dominating this division. The three biggest earners in Sheemon 1:57 ($135,872) Prime Power 1:56.5 ($67,201) and Royal Aspirations 1:56.5 ($60,488) were all sons of the Balanced Image sire. Second nearly $400,000 behind Monarchy was his Roydon Lodge stablemate in the form of the evergreen Sundon while Love You and Monkey Bones were close up in third and fourth. The emergence of Monarchy from Sundon's shadow and the prominent showing by the likes of Love You and Monkey Bones are all positive signs for the trotting breed going forward. Harnesslink media

The battle for the title of leading 3 year old sire in New Zealand went on for most of the harness racing season between Mach Three, Bettor's Delight and Art Major. Mach Three grabbed an early advantage and although challenged by the other two sires throughout the season, he managed to stay in front and late in the season Mach Three broke away for a comfortable win. It was always going to be an interesting battle because for once Mach Three had more foals than Bettor's Delight and Art Major. This season's standings prove once and for all that numbers are critical and that there is very little if anything between these three great sires in Mach Three, Bettor's Delight and Art Major. Mach Three showed once again his ability to leave that champion with Venus Serena in outstanding form all season with her win in the Jewels truly memorable.  Venus Serena 1:52.1($399,104) was the leading stake earner of either sex this season while other fillies to show up were Te Amo Bromac 1:55.8 ($40,416) and Rockn Ruby 1:57.7 ($39,118). The best colts were headed by Regulus 1:56.3 ($54,936)  No Doctor Needed 1:57.1 ($51,565) and Cyclone Prince 1:57.1 ($49,718) Even with his large crop, Mach Three's percentages were excellent once again. Foals - 152 Winners (Aust / NZ) 71 % Winners/Foals - 46.71 Stake Money - (NZ) $ 1,359,350 Bettor's Delight had another outstanding year but due to the smaller size of this years crop, he was brought back to the pack and had to fight hard to maintain his spot near the head of the sires table. If it hadn't been for the Australian bred Willow 1:56.3 ($110,265), Bettor's Delight would have slipped to third overall behind Mach Three and Art Major. Bettor's Delights best colt was the super consistent Tiger Tara 1:55.2 ($298,461) while others of note were Maxim 1:56.6 ($78,546) and Alleluia 1:58.2 ($57,982) His best filly was the speedy Lancewood Lizzie 1:57.9 ($59,949) while others to show up were Millie Sampson 1:56.1 ($54,245) and Snooki 1:55.8 ($42,460). Foals - 109 Winners (Aust/NZ) - 45 % Winners/Foals - 41.28 Stakes - (NZ) $1,126,070 Art Major had another outstanding year especially considering that he had the smallest crop of 3 year olds of the leading three sires. It was a toss up who was his best colt with both Isaiah 1:54.6 ($241,778) and Sky Major 1:52 ($158,422) having credible claims to the title while the next best was Major Bubbles 2:00.1 ($45,033) The Art Major fillies were ok but not as good as some recent crops.  The pick of them were Asoka 2:02.2 ($26,275)  Sweet Art 1:58.3 ($24,925) and Simply Stunning 2:02 ($21,286). Foals - 95 Winners (Aust/NZ) - 46 % Winners/Foals - 48.42 Stakes - (NZ) $1,044,423 There was a large gap back to the fourth placed sire in Christian Cullen but he did sire the brilliant Locharburn 1:56.4 ($256,067) and the outstanding filly Libertybelle Midfrew 1:56.1 ($166,112) (Aust/NZ) so he still has plenty to offer. American Ideal held his own without looking like challenging the top three and again showed that ability to leave a top filly with Ideal Belle 1:54 ($176,409) being unlucky to strike one as good as Venus Serena. One sire to show up down the sires list was Western Ideal who had a crop of 3 year olds which numbered just ten. From that crop of ten Western Ideal produced four very smart individuals headed by the brilliant filly Raksdeal 1:54.9 ($101,023)  Ideal Power 1:56.4 ($41,047)  Jango Fett 1:55.9 ($29,928) and Gentle Western 1:55 ($17,000) who looked the best of the four until hurt in a race smash which ended his season. The trotting division looked tight early on between Majestic Son and Love You but Majestic Son just ran away with the title when the classics rolled around. King Denny 2:00.1 ($162,753) was easily the best 3 year old colt while Majestic Time 1:58.6 ($56,725) was just as easily the best 3 year old filly His stock were clearly on top by seasons end with a gap of nearly $200,000 between first and second. Monarchy claimed second with Love You close up in third and these two sires along with Majestic Son appear to have established a break on the other trotting sires available in New Zealand.. Venus Serena Harnesslink media

There have been a lot of great trotting stallions over the lifetime of harness racing in Australasia but there has never been one as good as Sundon. Right from the time he first went to the stallion barn, Sundon has cast a huge shadow over all the other trotting sires available in Australasia. In the last few years many have been quick to suggest that his time has passed and that the new boys on the block were ready to assume the mantle of “king”of the trotting sires. Well judging by the results the 28 year old son of Arndon has achieved this season in both Australia and New Zealand, the obiturary may be a bit premature. His stats in New Zealand are as compelling as ever. Not only has he topped the stallion sires list again for trotters but Sundon has all but won the broodmare title for allcomers this season. His broodmares have produced the winners of $2,259,369 to date  this season to place him second only to In The Pocket, a fantastic achievement for a trotting stallion. He is a staggering $1,751,754 ahead of his nearest trotting rival on the broodmare stakes won list. In Australia Sundon has yet again topped the trotting sires list and the broodmare sires list as well. AUSTRALIA  1st sires list             2nd sires list          1st Broodmare list          2nd Broodmare list    Sundon                       Earl                           Sundon                              Aereus  $1,120,540                $764,926                   $1,615,601                      $437,689 As you see he is still number one by a fair margin as a sire and is completely dominant as a broodmare sire in Australia. NEW ZEALAND 1st sires list             2nd sires list          1st Broodmare list          2nd Broodmare list   Sundon                      Monarchy                     Sundon                        Chiola Hanover   $1,506,904              $1,035,930                   $2,259,369                        $507,575 Again he is still nearly half a million clear on the sires list but is a huge $1,751,794 ahead of Chiola Hanover on the broodmare sires list. And just to reinforce that he still has the ability to sire that smart young horse, Sundon has sired Australia's best 2 year old trotter this season in Eljaykay Phoenix ($110,569). All in all another great season for the greatest trotting sire to have ever stood in Australasia. Harnesslink media

2010 Dominion Handicap winner Stylish Monarch made a surprise appearance at the Timaru trials on Saturday. The 17-race winner, who was thought to be retired after going amiss again back in August of last year, has been back in work with original trainer Murray Tapper for several months. “He made his own mind up,” said Tapper. “He had been out for six odd months when he started galloping around the paddock like a mad man so I decided to bring him into work to help educate my young trotters,” he explained. But that didn’t exactly go to plan as the son of Monarchy, who has earned over half of a million dollars and currently holds the New Zealand trotting record for 3200 metres, quickly found his racing spirit. “As he got fitter he became very competitive again and I could never hold him,” said Tapper. “He just used to trot away from the young ones which wasn’t doing anyone any favours,” he laughed. Stylish Monarch finished third of three in his trial, but was only beaten just over four lenghts by 9-win pacer Motu Speedy Star who started of equal terms. “I was very pleased with his trial and, more importantly, how his legs look afterwards,” said Tapper. “He is still a day-to-day proposition but at this stage his legs look great and don’t look like going any time soon,” Tapper said as he touched wood. Tapper said if the Group One winning 10-year-old showed any signs of soreness it would be curtains on his career and this time it would be for good. “He has been too good of a horse to me for me to put him from pain,” he stressed. Tapper said Stylish Monarch would trial at least two more times before making a possible comeback in August. “I’m not making any rash plans at this stage,” said Tapper.”I think there is a C3 & faster trot for him sometime in mid-August but I won’t be rushing him to get there.” “He is ten-years-old now so I am just hopeful that he will still have the same speed and stamina because even if his 10-15% down on his best he is going to struggle,” admitted Tapper. “But even if he could be competitive again at the highest level it would be a dream come true,” he enthused. By Mitchell Robertson

Waikato trainer and administrator Rob Lawson will go into partnership with his son Simon on August 1. Lawson senior will train out of Newstead in the Waikato while Simon will train a team at Pukekohe. “We intend on having a boutique stable of perhaps eight or nine horses, but they will all race in my name. “We could register them in both names but we felt it might jeopardise Simon’s chances of getting more drives,’’ Lawson snr said. “He’s already driving for top trainers like Ray Green, Steven Reid, and Geoff Small when he can. He’s a naturally talented driver who can send them, and save them, when he has to.’’ He said he would head up to Pukekohe regularly to see how Simon is getting on. He believed his son had what it took to be a good trainer. “I’m biased but I know he’s a top driver and I also know he’s been around horses all of his life - so he certainly knows what training is all about. As well as working for me he’s also worked for Peter Simpson, Steven Reid and Geoff Small. He’s learnt a lot from a lot of people.’’ The Lawsons’ will swap their team around from time to time racing at both Cambridge Raceway and Alexandra Park. “We will also be looking to entice South Island owners and trainers to send their horses north to us. I’m vice president at Cambridge but I realise the stakes in Auckland are too good to ignore, so it makes sense to race there. “Even second-placed money at Alexandra Park is nice. Having two stables reinforces our commitment to the industry. I am also going to be the trainers and drivers rep on the harness racing executive – so as you can see the industry means a lot to me and my family.’’ The Nathan Williamson trained The Wonkey Donkey was a recent South Island addition to Lawson’s stable. While in the north the 4-year-old Thanksgiving gelding recorded two seconds and two thirds. Lawson has trained 41 winners from 362 starters since 1991 and he’s also placed 67 times for $248,278 in stakes. His best year was last season when he trained eight winners. This year Lawson has won four times from 12 attempts. Son, Simon on the other hand has had a season in the sulky he will never forget. He won his first group One race behind the Green trained Besotted at Alexandra Park on May 2. That was one of 24 winners for him so far this season – 23 fewer than his best season in 2010. All up Lawson has won 166 of his 1,516 drives. He’s also placed on 322 occasions for $1.3 million in purses. Not a bad effort considering he only started driving in 2009. The Lawsons’ currently have Ton Tine going around at the moment. That son 4-year-old son of Monarchy has won three of his 23 starts “We’ve also got an exciting young rising 2-year-old named Van Mara. We bought him at the yearling sales and he is quite talented. We have a lot of time for him.’’ By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

The win last night of Sunnys Little Whiz at Alexandra Park would have brought back a lot of happy memories for her harness racing trainer, Ken Sefonte. She is the first foal from the former Queen of Alexandra Park in Our Sunny Whiz who Sefonte trained to win 19 races and $348,781 in an outstanding race career. Having her fourth lifetime start last night, the daughter of Monarchy was slow early, settling five back on the inner before working forward and securing the run in the one out and one back position. Peeling three wide at the 400 meters, she reeled in the leader The Early Wicket with ease and she went to the line a comfortable winner with driver Brent Mangos just tapping the dust sheet to keep her mind on the job. She trotted the 2200 meters from a stand in 2:56.2 with closing sectionals of 60.9 and 30.4. The maternal pedigree of Sunnys Little Whiz is very strong, coming from one of the strongest trotting families in the New Zealand stud book. Not only did her dam win 19 races but her grand-dam Hanover Whiz (9 wins) also reached open class in New Zealand as did the third dam First Prize (9 wins). Outstanding trotters such as Vulcan 1:55.9 ($983,319) Genius (24 wins) ($214,523)  Dream Machine 1:57.6 ($159,453) and Thaneson (9 wins) ($102,357) are all found within the first three dams of Sunnys Little Whiz pedigree. The next foal from Our Sunny Whiz is a two year old colt by champion American trotting sire Angus Hall and she also has a weanling filly by another champion American sire in Muscles Yankee so she is being given every chance at stud. While she may never reach the heights of her dam, Sunnys Little Whiz has shown enough to suggest a few more wins are in store for this beautifully bred filly. Sunnys Little Whiz Harnesslink media

Whenever you are assessing a trotting race at Forbury Park, the first thing you look for is what have the Williamson's got in. They invariably have a handful in the race and they win those races more often than not. Last night they had four entered in the Bidvest handicap trot and all of them had something to offer on paper. Phil Williamson had the two backmarkers in Miss Pegasus (40 meters) and Monnay (60 meters) while his son Nathan had Poppymalda (Unruly 2) and Nickelson (unruly 30 meters). Poppymalda led early before handing up to Juneamy Castleton while Nickelson was back to his old tricks, galloping wildly out of contention. Miss Pegasus and Monnay both made great beginnings from their backmarks with Miss Pegasus going forward to sit parked outside Juneamy Castleton from the 1600 meters with Monnay hard on her back . That is the way it stayed until they turned for home when Juneamy Castleton broke under pressure leaving the three Williamson runners to fight out the finish. After receiving such a great trip in transit, Monnay soon put the issue beyond doubt, hitting the line 51/2 lengths clear of Poppymalda with Miss Pegasus a game third after doing plenty of work. There was a gap of 16 lengths back to the fourth place getter. This was Monnay's fourth win this season and tenth overall and took the six year old son of Monarchy  stake earnings to $79,079. The win by Monnay took Phil Williamson's total for the season to 39 which is not far off his season best of 46 which he achieved in 2007 and leaves him in ninth place overall on the New Zealand's trainers list for this season. Harnesslink media

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