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By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    It was a long time between drinks for Peter Holmes but he was able to quench his thirst at Motukarara Raceway on Monday when securing his first win since 2014. Holmes contested the Crate & Barrel Leeston Mobile Pace (2000m) with Beeps and Evidently, and the former was able to get up for the Templeton trainer by half a head over Cristiano Buccini. Holmes was duly delighted with the result, but said it came as a pleasant surprise given Beeps was fresh-up after undergoing treatment for stomach ulcers. “It was great, it’s been a long time between drinks,” Holmes said. “He went quite good races on the coast and up at Blenheim, but we had a bit of trouble with him, he wasn’t eating. “We found out that he had stomach ulcers, so we treated him for that and he has been eating up really well ever since. “He has always gone better when he has had a race under his belt. I thought he would probably need the run today, but he proved us wrong.” Holmes was also pleased with the seventh-placed run of stablemate Evidently. “He didn’t go too bad, I was quite happy with him,” he said. “He is no champion, but he went quite a good race today.” Holmes has enjoyed training for more than three decades and he said he enjoys training a couple of horses, which gives him a break from running his Canterbury sheep farm. He has trained since 1988 but said the best horse he has been associated with was seven-time winner Regal Nugent, who was trained in his mother Maureen’s name before Holmes took out his license. “She was a really nice mare,” Holmes said. “She won seven, and in those days there was no drop back or penalty free wins. She was a lovely mare and the best one that I have been associated with.” While pleased with Monday’s win, Holmes is looking forward to the future with a couple of his younger stock. “We have got a couple of Terror To Love two-year-olds that go around alright,” he said. “A cobber of mine, Grant Inglis, who works for New Zealand Bloodstock, he and I bought a trotting yearling at the sales, which I have broken in and is going alright too. “We live in hope.” View the full results from Motukarara.

Driver Jo Herbert wound back the clock almost 18 years when she notched a race-to-race double at Motukarara on Sunday. Herbert’s double was her first since 2003 and it came after she drove Taumata VC to win race 4 and Hello Adele to win race 5. The reinswoman kept herself in her family’s good books when producing a perfectly timed run with the Colin and Julie DeFilippi trained Taumata VC. The victory was a turnaround for the pacer after she could not capitalise on an even better run in her last start at Addington. But the difference on Sunday was the four-year-old was in a winning mood. “She has been due for that one for a while, Herbert said. “She has always had the ability, you go back to her trials and she has always had that speed and stamina.” “I think she got herself worked up more than anything last time.” “She is a moody mare, basically.” “Today she was actually not too bad for her.” Taumata VC is owned by Herbert’s uncle Doug and his children Joey and Kimba. Herbert made it back to back wins when Hello Adele produced a gritty effort to take out race 5. The Philip Beveridge trained mare was caught wide early before eventually getting to the parked position and then into the one-one. Normally considered a sit-sprint type, the five-year-old shrugged off her early work when proving too tough for her rivals. “For a sit-sprinter, she did a bit of work, we were pretty blown away,” Herbert said. “She was unlucky at Westport and at Reefton it was a funny one because the two in front got away on her and she was never going to beat them.” “I was hoping she was going to be in the first three, but I wasn’t expecting her to go that good today.” Sunday’s double was Herbert’s first since she won with the Paul Kerr trained duo of Pascale Bromac and Speed Monster at Rangiora in April of 2003. Kerr also got in on the winning action at Motukarara on Sunday when producing Duffy Hollow to win race 11 with Tim Williams in the sulky. Ross Cameron also scored a race-to-race double at Sunday’s meeting. Cameron doubled up for the first time in his short career when Manjimup scored a tough win in race 7 and Not Really Blonde produced a late surge to take out race 8.   by Jonny Turner

A horse allegedly doped by a harness racing trainer was scratched from its first race since the scandal broke after failing a veterinary test. Its new trainer is also facing a charge of attempting to start an unsound horse. Five-year-old gelding Johnny Nevits was allegedly injected and tubed only three weeks ago by Canterbury trainer Jesse Alford. The horse was then transferred to the Woodend training facility of trainer Cam Jones after Harness New Zealand suspended Alford’s licence.   Read the full story click here! Sam Sherwood Courtesy of Stuff

Normal transmission is set to resume at Motukarara on Sunday for Bettor Believe who is among a nice book of drives for Colin DeFilippi. The pacer trained by DeFilippi and wife Julie goes into race 8 after blotting his exceptional copybook form line when breaking a hopple in his last outing at Addington. Better Believe had put a string of six placings together prior to that race, mostly on grass tracks. The five-year-old steps back on to his favourite surface on Sunday and it would take a brave punter to bet against him not at least putting himself in place contention once again. “He broke a hopple last time and that was the end of that,” Colin DeFilippi said. “But in saying that he drew the second line and got back a bit too far, so he probably wasn’t going to get any money anyway.” “But he is off the front on Sunday and if he begins like he normally does then he is a chance.” “He is probably the best chance of the ones from our stable.” Bettor Believe it opened at a $3.60 win price and $1.60 win price in fixed odds betting. DeFilippi rates Aldebaran Floss in race 6 as the best of his winning chances from his drives outside of his own stable. The Murray Alfeld trained trotter charged home into second in an excellent effort from off the pace in her last start at Addington. “She should be the hardest to beat from the draw (3),” DeFilippi said. “She is a nice filly.” Aldebaran Floss opened at a generous $4.40 fixed odds win price. Terror Maria also looks a strong eachway chance for DeFilippi in race 7. The Bob Butt trained mare produced sound form before missing away and then racing wide in her last start at Methven. “Bob has got a bit of time for her, she has gone some good races, she is a chance.” Terror Maria has been rated at $9.50 and $2.70 in fixed odds markets. DeFilippi will jump behind The Artful Dodger in race 3 for the first time since he converted to pacing after previously driving the horse as a trotter. Two gritty efforts for second in his last two starts make the five-year-old far from the worst proposition. “He has been going good races and he can do a bit of work, so he wouldn’t be the worst chance,” DeFilippi said. The Artful Dodger was rated at juicy $21 win odds and $5 place odds on Saturday night. DeFilippi and wife Julie start both Sweet Heaven and Taumata VC in race 4. DeFilippi hopes Taumata VC can bounce back to form after disappointing in her last start at Addington. “She let me down last start.” “I went to the trials at Ashburton on the Tuesday and she jogged 3.06 (for 2400m), I never pulled the plugs and never turned the stick.” “I don’t know if that took the edge off her or not but she was disappointing on the Sunday.” “The second row will make it hard because she is one that needs to be on the pace. “It will depend on how she gets away.” “And it is much the same for Sweet Heaven.” Sweet Heaven was at $10 and $3 and Taumata VC was at $17 and $4.60 in fixed odds betting on Saturday night. The DeFilippi stable also start Don’t Write Me Off in race 2, who has been rated at fixed odds of $19 and $4.50.   by Jonny Turner

By Brian Cross    Success at Motukarara for seven-year-old mare Sun Swinger in January was a fitting reminder of the Williams family’s contribution to harness racing and the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club over many years. While trainer Kevin Williams is well known for his association with the ‘pocket battleship’ of the 1980’s Master Mood, wife Bonnie has been a stalwart on the BPTC since the 1990s. Active on the club committee and one of the first to arrive at pre-meeting working bees, Bonnie is a driving force for the Trots at Mot. As the daughter of harness racing legend Cecil Devine, Bonnie was destined to have a life-long involvement in the sport. It was an uncle, George Mugford, who founded her family’s long association with BPTC. George was a typical early Mot man, a farmer and hobby trainer who pitched in at every level and became president in 1979. When he bred to Cecil’s NZ Cup winner Van Dieman in the late ‘50s, George named the resulting foal Lord Cecil. “That caused a family disagreement,” as Bonnie tells it. “Banks Peninsula is a very much a family-focussed club,” says Bonnie, “that originated with the support of local people, most of whom had an association with horses and wanted to share their enthusiasm for harness racing.“ Kevin and daughter Kelly acquired Sun Swinger at the 2017 Roydon Lodge dispersal sale, knocked down to them as a qualified trotter for $500. She was bought primarily as a future broodmare, being by Sundon and a full sister to the successful All Shook Up (5 wins). “Richard Aubrey took her home from the sale and trained her for us,” said Bonnie. “After 3 months work with her he suggested we send her to Greg and Nina Hope at the beach as she was not trotting quite right.” “Greg had the mare trotting a lot better, but at the workouts she would not trot away and went at a snail’s pace,” Bonnie explained. Another spell and another preparation at the beach saw slow progress. “So we just kept going with her ourselves and eventually she got the idea.” By this stage Aldebaran Lodge’s Duncan McPherson had joined in the ownership. These days Bonnie does most of the work with Sun Swinger. “I’ve told Kevin it’s all very well out on the track in February, but I won’t be doing it any more in the winter!” For her part Sun Swinger is now in foal to Muscle Mass. Her value as a broodmare is no doubt secure with the ongoing breeding success of her dam Shimmie Shook Shook, also producing All Settled Down (4 wins) which in turn left top juvenile trotter Enhance Your Calm. Sun Swinger is coming to the end of her eventful career, one that has given her owners some real highlights along the way with three wins to date. None more so than in celebrating her latest success, and accepting hearty congratulations all round one January race day at the Mot.

One of New Zealand’s top harness racing drivers is one of two facing charges after failing pre-race alcohol tests at a Canterbury race meeting. Blair Orange and Bob Butt were breathalysed and found to be over the permitted limit at a meeting of the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club at Motukarara Raceway, near Christchurch, on January 24. Drivers must test under 100 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath to comply with harness racing rules. In New Zealand, the alcohol limit for motor vehicle drivers aged 20 years and over is 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath and the blood alcohol limit is 50 milligrams (mg) per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood. Read the full story at Stuff   by Martin Van Beynen

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Woodend Beach trainer Matt Purvis recorded a winning double at Motukarara Raceway on Sunday, bringing his tally to 19 wins for the season, eight more than his previous best term. Win 18 came courtesy of Jennabella in the Selwyn District Council Junior Drivers Mobile Pace (2000m). The daughter of Bettor’s Delight was given a plum drive by Alana Cameron and found the one-one with 800m to go before improving three-wide turning for home where she made light work of her opposition, running away to a three-length victory over Mickey Fitz, with a further half-head back to Judgement Bay in third. Purvis was pleased with the win, which continues a solid summer for the six-year-old mare. “It was a peach of a drive by Alana in the junior race,” Purvis said. “Once she lobbed the one-one from about the 800m from home, I thought with her speed she was going to be very hard to beat. “She has become a wee eftpos card which is the best bit. She just loves racing and as long as she is driven the same way each time, she can race every week, so it’s good for the owners.” Two races later, Purvis secured a winning double when in-form pacer Quarterback took out the meeting’s feature, the Canterbury Trotting Owners Association Motukarara Cup (2810m). It was the four-year-old gelding’s third win from his last four starts, but Purvis admitted to being slightly anxious when his charge was caught five back on the fence for the majority of the journey. However, he was presented wide down the home straight by driver Alana Cameron and ran over the top of his rivals to win by three-quarters of a length over She’s Tough. “It was a bit questionable when he was five back on the fence, but I thought 2800m was going to be his best friend and it just shows he loves distance,” Purvis said. “He did it pretty easily and he wasn’t blowing much after the race, so he should really bounce through that. “He just tries his guts out and that is the best thing about him.”

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Bruce Negus and driver Jessica Young-Grant will attempt to continue their fine summer form at Motukarara on Sunday. The combination have been regulars in the winner’s circle recently and that could continue when they start four horses on the popular grass track. Much of Negus and Young-Grant’s form has come with horses the trainer purchased as weanlings and his judgment has been paying off lately. “I can’t complain, obviously the ones coming through at the moment were the ones Bruce bought at the weanling sales a couple of years ago,” Young-Grant said. “He has got a few coming up, so it is good.” Negus and Young-Grant look to have an excellent winning chance in Dashtothebeach in race 11. Young-Grant was reunited with the three-year-old in her last start third at Ashburton and was impressed by the feeling she got. “Obviously I hadn’t driven her for a while because Jonny Cox won on her and kept the drive for a while,” Young-Grant said. “I said to Bruce she is a completely different horse to what I drove when she first started racing,” Young-Grant said. “She has improved so much, with her gait and everything.” “So she should go close.” Buffy Northstains was a good last maiden winner for the Negus and Young-Grant combination in her last start at Rangiora. Though she is capable of stepping up in grade in race 6, Young-Grant is a little cautious of the filly’s inexperience. “Ability-wise it wouldn’t really worry her at all.” “But she doesn’t really know anything.” “Last time she was first out, she loves being in front and she just bowls around.” “That is how she qualified.” “But she has never been in a field and raced like a proper racehorse.” “If she trotted the whole way and was roundabout she goes quite good and she would be thereabouts.” “But she has got a bit to learn.” Phone Tap looks a place or eachway chance for Negus and Young-Grant on the strength of her debut fourth at Motukarara. The filly broke in her next start when failing to handle switching to the Rangiora all-weather. “She has always had a wee bit of a gait issue and that obviously showed up on the all-weather the other day when I went pretty hard out of the gate,” Young-Grant said. “She really doesn’t know what she is doing, that first start she was running on adrenaline, she had no idea.” “She has got the motor but the brain isn’t with her at the moment.” “It will depend on what kind of mood she is in.” Young-Grant also drives the Joseph Gray trained It's A Shawthing, who looks a rough hope in race 5. Sunday’s feature sees an even line up do battle in the Motukarara Cup. Blue Chip Delight looks a strong eachway hope for driver Jo Herbert on the strength of two good efforts to run third and fourth at last month’s Westport Christmas meeting. The Colin and Julie DeFilippi trained pacer just needs to pace over the Motukarara track crossing, which he did in his last visit to the track. Blue Chip Delight jumped the Westport track crossing in each of his last two starts. “On the first day, he jumped it higher and actually came down pacing,” Herbert said. “The next day I couldn’t believe my luck that I was left parked and I knew it was coming.” “He made a mess of it, but to gallop and finish where he did was a good effort.” If he can get back to normal transmission, Blue Chip Delight will have winning claims. “I would say he would go a pretty good race, it is not an overly strong field,” Herbert said. Cheezel looks the hardest horse for Blue Chip Delight to beat. The Regan Todd trained mare starts from a 10m handicap in Sunday’s 2810m feature.

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Banks Peninsular today with an eleven race program starting at 12:34pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Banks Peninsular selections 24th January 2021 Best Bet:  R7 Judgement Bay Best Value:  R9 Blue Chip Delight   Race 1 Classic Call nice at trials and grass will suit. Should be hard to beat with manners… Line A Love tidy form line and goes good on grass. Should run top three…… Majestic Jag getting better with racing and looks a good winning hope here if he can step away with them early….. Dashing Dutchy tricky draw but good enough to get into the placings with a bit of luck. One for longer odds Selections:  Classic Call (5),   Line A Love (2),   Majestic Jag (9)   Dashing Dutchy (17)   Race 2 Haiti Franco good run after getting back last start and drawn well. Has the speed to be a major player here.……. Morries Girl in good form and well placed here. Has to be included and will be hard to beat…… Dixie Flyer bad draw but has raced well on the track. Good winning claims if she can get close to the leaders before the home turn…… With Grace has been disappointing at times but looks stronger this campaign and stable goes well on grass. Can win Selections:  Haiti Franco (2),  Morries Girl (4),   With Grace (11),   Dixie Flyer (13)   Race 3 Wee Ring The Changes last run better than it looks on paper and stable change for this. Has to be hard to beat….. Proviseur terrible last start but top driver booked and give another chance. Include….. Saginaw tidy draw and could get a cosy run on the fence. Can run top three in this field at nice odds….. Takemybreathaway terrible draw but has a ton of ability. Could upset with a good run iin transit Selections:   Wee Ring The Changes (7),   Proviseur (11),   Takemybreathaway (9)   Saginaw (1)   Race 4 Seapris quick beginner who will take some catching if she can land the front from the front row draw. Has a good winning chance….. Dalness First racing into form and tidy draw. One of the leading players in the race. Include….. Miss Behavin steps quickly and will be in the fight early. One for longer odds here ….. Piece Of Gold a bit one paced but drawn well and driver sticks with. Place chances look best Selections:   Seapris (4),   Dalness First (6),   Piece Of Gold (2)   Miss Behavin (5)   Race 5 Hittheroadjack good run for second last start and getting fitter. Can win but tricky draw….. Fraud should get a run through from the draw and looks the early leader in the. Good winning chance….. It's A Laugh disappointing last start but good previously and grass suits. Top selection..….. Bromac Hype out of form but has the draw and could surprise at nice odds Selections:   Hittheroadjack (13),   Fraud (6),   It's A Laugh (9)   Bromac Hype (1)   Race 6 Martha Stuart out of form but conditions suit and drawn ok. Good winning claims and can run top three.…. Prince Ranier nice draw and should be close to the lead early. Good chance here…… Sierra Gold ok draw and ok last start in a stronger field. Could upset here but place chances look best..… Sally Lindenny galloped last start but has good grass form. Hard to beat with manners Selections:  Prince Ranier (1),   Martha Stuart (2),   Sally Lindenny (11),   Sierra Gold (7)   Race 7 Judgement Bay building into fitness and looks the leader early. Can win and is one of the leading chances in this field …. Four Starzzz Shiraz usually holds his form ok and paying good money. Might get back from the draw but will finish well….. Edge Sheeran has been good the last couple and getting fitter. Nice draw and can upset…. Alta Redeemer getting better with racing and form is top notch. Good winning chance Selections:   Judgement Bay (4),  Alta Redeemer (6),   Edge Sheeran (1),  Four Starzzz Shiraz (9)   Race 8 The Kaik going ok fram tricky draws against strong fields. Looks hard to beat here if he goes forward early ….. A Rocknroll Star good win last start and will be improved. Can repeat….. Just N Awe tricky draw but has grass form. Should be close to the placings with luck in the running….. Eastwood Isabella draw not great and will need luck in transit, but at her best would be hard to beat. Needed Selections:   A Rocknroll Star (7),   The Kaik (2),   Just N Awe (8)  Eastwood Isabella (15)   Race 9 Blue Chip Delight racing well and paying great money. Distance suits and will be hard to beat if he can get handy early….. Cheezel racing well and good finisher who should be hard to beat if she can step away with the field. Include….. Bettor Grunter racing well and raced on grass with merit last few starts. Top driver so needed here…… Back In Black has been racing at well at trials and workouts and can grass suits. Can upset if he leaves the stand quickly Selections:  Blue Chip Delight (4),  Cheezel (11),   Bettor Grunter (5)    Back In Black (12)   Race 10 Majestic Action badly drawn but has a big reputation and was knocked over in the straight last start. Winning claims with a track into the race….. Alvira Hest top driver booked and has won on grass. Good winning claims at nice odds….. Take After Me better draw and will be a factor if he can lead early. Paying great money and can upset….. Beyond The Horizon getting fitter and dangerous if the pace is on all the way. One for longer odds Selections:   Take After Me (2),   Majestic Action (13),   Alvira Hest (9)   Beyond The Horizon (8)   Race 11 Mad Lu Li out of form and tricky draw but one of the better horses in the race. Has a good winning chance….. Dallas Grimes racing into form and tidy draw. One of the leading players in the race. Include….. Jazelle good win last start but drawn wide. Can win if she gets a track into the race ….. Chal Be galloped early last start but better than that. Winning claims at nice odds Selections:   Dallas Grimes (2),   Mad Lu Li (9),   Jazelle (8)   Chal Be (4)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Trent Yesberg can set off on his upcoming travels across the South Island with a smile after bagging a winning double at Motukarara on Tuesday. Like many trainers, the Ohoka horseman will clock up plenty of miles with his horse float over the Christmas-New Year period. After taking three horses to Motukarara, Yesberg will start two runners at Reefton on Wednesday before lining up three more at Omakau on Saturday. The trainer’s drive to the West Coast was made easier after he combined with driver Matthew Williamson to win with Majestic Action and Shady Ruler on Tuesday.   Majestic Action repaid the faith her trainer has had in her since she joined his stable six starts ago a maiden win in race 6. Much of Yesberg’s decent opinion of the five-year-old comes from the raw speed she has shown him in training. “I said to Matty just believe in the speed.” “She is the fastest trotter I have ever driven.” “She might not be that tough, but she is extremely fast.” Majestic Action placed in one of her four starts for Yesberg before he put her aside early in the spring. She returned with a solid fifth at Methven earlier this month before powering home to win on Tuesday. “Last time in she showed so much ability, but we couldn’t get her right.” “In hindsight, we probably went on a wee bit too long.” “We turned her out and she has come back in and just been so much happier.” “She has got a really big motor, she is quite impressive with what she can do.” “But she takes a bit of managing and I think we have figured out her work regime and everything now.” Before Majestic Action zoomed home with her big finish Shady Ruler did the same when sweeping down the outer to win race 5. The four-year-old was let go at big $19 odds after running seventh on debut at Rangiora last week. Punters must have missed what Yesberg and Williamson both considered a good last start effort. “She had trialled up great,” Yesberg said. “She had pretty much been in the first three in all of her trials and workouts and we had been thrilled with her.” “At Rangiora, she actually galloped for about ten strides around the bend and lost four or five lengths.” “Matty said if he didn’t lose that ground he would have been in the first four for sure.” “He was really confident today, probably even more confident than me.” “He said if she had drawn the front line she would have been very hard to beat, but as it turned out it didn’t matter.” Shady Ruler looks to have a solid future judging by her fast-finishing maiden win. Yesberg thinks her brilliant attitude will be the key to her winning more races. “She is a handy wee mare.” “She is very honest, she gives her all whether it is in training or at the trials.” “She has never let us down.” “That is the thing that I love about her – she is really honest.” “When you turn up to the trials or work you know what you are going to get and that is 100%.” Yesberg will set off for Reefton on Wednesday with two runners who are both newcomers to the West Coast Christmas racing circuit. Rocknroll Diva will debut for the trainer in race 2 and he also lines up Vin Scully in race 6.

By Jonny Turner    A standout book of drives awaits Gerard O’Reilly at Motukarara on Tuesday. Among them are two leading chances from his own stable, including unbeaten filly Sweet Belle. The three-year-old returned to racing in style when cruising to an effortless win at Methven earlier this month. After leading in both of her career wins, Sweet Belle is set to face a much different challenge when she starts from the outside of the second row in race 10. But O’Reilly thinks she is ready for it. “She is good enough to overcome it, but the draw is going to be hard on her.” “We are relying on something taking off and following them around.” “I wouldn’t really want to take off on my own, but hopefully she can get dragged into it, that would be ideal.” If Sweet Belle cannot get a cart into race 10 she may have to be driven for one run. And if that is the case she can produce a lethal turn of foot. “There are no worries there,” O’Reilly said. “When she trialled up a couple of times she came from the trail or three back and she sprinted up nicely.” “So, she is pretty versatile.” O’Reilly starts another horse from his own barn in race 5 in A Rocknroll Star. The three-year-old looked smart when sprinting well to win a grass track trial at Orari ahead of his debut. “He is a lovely wee horse and he has been really nice since I have had him.” “He qualified really well and then he had a spell and he has come back and he has trialled up nicely again.” “So, he should put himself in the race and be right there.” O’Reilly reunites with the Kevin Townley trained Sally Lindenny in race 6. The five-year-old looks a big winning chance following her effort to run a close up third after making a slow beginning in her last start at Rangiora. “If she begins with them she will be right in it,” O’Reilly said. “She went great at Rangiora, that is the best she has gone for a long time.” “It has taken a while, but it was great and she should be right in the finish if she trots.” O’Reilly will again combine with Laver after their win over subsequent Westport Cup winner Kruizer at Addington earlier this month. The Geoff and James Dunn trained four-year-old will be out to continue his brilliant run of form from the 10m mark in the Motukarara Christmas Cup. “He has come to it really good,” O’Reilly said. “He has got stronger as he has gone on and I can’t see why he won’t be in the finish.” “His two runs at Cup Week were massive and he has just gone on from there.” Laver often races on the speed, but may not get the chance to do that without doing some extra work from his 10m handicap. That is not something O’Reilly thinks will be a big concern going into the 2810m feature. “He came behind at Kaikoura, they went hard early and he went straight past them. “If they go hard it won’t really worry him, I don’t think.” O’Reilly also drives Vincent Van Gone for the Dunn stable in race 8. The three-year-old made use of barrier 1 to run second in his last start at Rangiora. Though he faces a different challenge with saddlecloth number 15 on Tuesday, his driver thinks he can still make an impact. “He is starting to grow up.” “When the Dunns first got him he was a bit of an ignorant pulling horse.” “But he is starting to settle in his races.” “He is more of a rolling type, but again if they go hard and he gets a drag around them he will be amongst them again.” Megarock in race 3 looks among the best of O’Reilly’s remaining chances at Motukarara. The Brian Kerr trained five-year-old went a sound race for fourth in his last start at Methven. O’Reilly also drives Nugget Ridge in race 1, Maldito in race 2, Mega Rock in race 3, Momentous in race 11 and Maurice in race 12.

By Jonny Turner    Perfect is the only way to sum up the first drive and first win of junior driver Daniel Roberts’ career behind Safe Zone at Motukarara on Sunday. Roberts gave himself a perfect one-from-one strike rate in the sulky when giving the five-year-old a dream run in the one-one before launching her for her winning run on the home turn to win race 6. The victory handed trainer Angela Washington the first victory of her career and it also ended a whirlwind week for Roberts. Up until Tuesday night, the rookie reinsman was not even licenced to drive. But, by Sunday he was a race winner. “It is a big thrill, I think I was actually more nervous after the post than I was around at the start,” Roberts said. “It is all happening before my eyes, but I am just taking it as it comes.” Winning races is nothing new for Roberts. The son of leading greyhound trainer, Craig Roberts, has prepared around 70 greyhound winners in his own name. When asked to compare the thrill of training a winning greyhound to driving Safe Zone to win on Sunday, Roberts gave an answer that may surprise some of his family. “I am saying this reluctantly, but driving a winner is definitely a much bigger thrill.” “Harness might have got me hook, line and sinker after today.” “But, we will see what happens going forward.” Roberts has been working towards getting his junior driver’s licence while working for Weedons trainer Chris McDowell. McDowell also enjoyed success at Motukarara on Sunday with Judgement Bay in race 5. Like Roberts, the four-year-old also impressively won her racetrack debut. Roberts recently left McDowell’s barn when an opportunity in the greyhound code came along. That has meant the junior driver will take a wait and see approach to see how his driving career will fit around his new job. “I haven’t really got too many plans, so I will just take it as it comes.” “I was working for Chris McDowell, but I just finished there.” “I was with him for about three and a half years, he has been really good to me.” “I finished up there to take on a bit more of a full-time position with the greyhounds, which might have come at the wrong time.” “I am hoping moving forward he might give me a few drives and then just see what happens.” Roberts gave Safe Zone the kind of steer a veteran driver would be proud of. After stepping away cleanly the pair took a trail behind Key Reactor and Joseph Gray to enjoy a perfect run in the one-one until the home turn. “Leading into the race I was a bit nervous because all the ones to beat were drawn on my inside.” “I thought I could get posted outside them and not be able to get across.” “I didn’t really see Joseph’s one coming and I thought I might end up parked, which definitely wasn’t going to be an ideal run.” “When he came around and gave me some cover I thought I could be a decent chance here.” Roberts’ pinpoint drive landed Angela Washington her first winner in her 17th start. The horsewoman shares in the ownership of Safe Zone with her partner, Roberts’ father Craig.

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Banks Peninsular today with an eleven race program on grass starting at 12:14pm. We highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data is provided for informational purposes only Akaroa selections 6th December 2020   Best bet: R8 Mad Lu Li Best Value: R9 Buckskin Liked at good odds: R3 Flamboyant  ,  R5 Judgement Bay ,  R7 Bright Glow ,  R11 Little Gee   Race 1 Shardan Suzie late finish last start and should get a cosy run. One of the leading chances in this field.…… Pete's Dash good second last start and should go on with it now. Can place again at good odds..… Glacier Coaster last couple have been fair and likely to head forward early. Grass suits and winning chance at nice odds…… Jenabella from a strike rate stable and form has been good. Tricky draw but will be finishing on. Needed Selections:  Glacier Coaster (9),   Pete's Dash (11),   Shardan Suzie (1)   Jenabella (13)   Race 2 Aldebaran Floss  nice draw here and looks the winner in the race. Hard to beat with a safe getaway.……. Make My Sundon plenty of ability but needs to trot all the way. Can win with no mistakes…… Emma Louise has run some good races previously and grass ok. One for longer odds…… Summars good beginner who is coming into form. Place chances look best Selections:  Aldebaran Floss  (2),  Emma Louise (3),   Make My Sundon (6),   Summars (9)   Race 3 Tombelina best from a stand but will be running on here. Can fill a place with luck in the running ….. Sister's Delight good draw and probably the first out in front in the race. Can run top three here….. Flamboyant  has the game to beat a field like this on grass and has a big driver change here. Can provide an upset with a safe beginning….. Mordecai running on last start but place claims look best in this field Selections:   Flamboyant  (15),   Mordecai (10),   Sister's Delight (6),   Tombelina (11)   Race 4 No Time Like Now big run last start after working hard and top driver. Looks the winner here….. Rollyourown  outclassed last start in a strong field and lobs a good draw here. Good winning chance….. Beeps  has the draw to trail the favourites here. Could surprise at big odds if the gaps open….. Cristiano Buccini running on last start and nice draw. Should be there abouts at the finish Selections:   No Time Like Now (3),   Rollyourown  (2),   Cristiano Buccini (1),   Beeps  (10)   Race 5 Judgement Bay tricky draw but in great form at workouts. Top selection in this field and will be hard to beat….. Times Are A Changin racing into form and last start was running on well. Upset chance with a cart into the race….. Le Pole Dancer terrible draw but is in form. Could surprise with a good run in transit but place chances best….. Hope For Love  wide draw not great but has been running on in her races. Can upset Selections:   Judgement Bay (15),   Times Are A Changin (10),   Le Pole Dancer (9),   Hope For Love  (8)   Race 6 Mongolian Marshal conditions suit here and he has the right draw to be a major threat here. Top selection.…. Teds Legacy getting better with racing and grass suits. Can run top three…… Starkers tricky draw but has been racing ok. His best form would see him go close here..… Unchanged Memory a bit in or out with form but has the ability and could be the boilover chance. Big odds available Selections:  Mongolian Marshal (2),   Unchanged Memory (3),   Teds Legacy (11),   Starkers (13)   Race 7 Aveross Majesty disappointing last start but give another chance and this race suits. Winning claims at good odds…. Foreigner looks the early leader and a good third last start. Can run top three at nice odds ….. Show Me The Gray out of form but has a big finish. Good winning chance if they go hard up front…. Bright Glow has been thereabouts in better fields and conditions suit here. One for longer odds…. Selections:   Bright Glow (13),  Aveross Majesty (16),   Show Me The Gray (9),  Foreigner (5)   Race 8 Pay Me Visa likely to trail here and has winning claims with a  solid pace in the race….. Mad Lu Li last start was better than it looked and well placed here.will be hard to beat at good odds ….. Playa Vista  good staying type who gets in well here. She will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. I Am Adaline hard to catch on her best day but has ability and she will be finding the line. Place claims here….. Selections:   Mad Lu Li  (6),  Pay Me Visa (1),   Playa Vista  (10),   I Am Adaline (12)   Race 9 Buckskin good draw to work with and will head forward early. Last run huge and he should go close to winning this at good odds ….. Fynn Frost tricky draw but running on well in a strong field last start Can run top three in this….. Skippys Delight very unlucky last start flashing home late. Winning claims here….. Razors Edge has a decent sprint when saved for the last run and his last start run was good. Place chances best here Selections:   Buckskin (3),   Fynn Frost(11),   Skippys Delight (4),   Razors Edge (7)   Race 10 Global Flight a bit in or out but has ability. Could trail and a place chance with no mistakes early….. That's The Story has not been put in the race her last couple but has a good finish and grass suits. Can run top three at nice odds ….. Test The Boundaries good staying type who gets in well here. Tricky draw but he will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Full Of Hope hard to catch on his best day but coming in fresh and has ability. Tote the guide and can win if the money comes….. Selections:   Full Of Hope (6),   Test The Boundaries (12),   That's The Story (13),   Global Flight (2)   Race 11 Be Mine Tonight wide draw to work with but might head forward early. Last run ok and she should go close to winning this at good odds ….. Southerly Change tricky draw but in form and should head forward off the gate. Can run top three in this….. Little Gee unlucky last start running home late. Winning claims here with a good run in transit……Jazelle has a decent sprint when saved for the last run and trainer change might help. Upset claims Selections:   Little Gee (5),   Be Mine Tonight (9),   Southerly Change (5),   Jazelle (12)   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Trainer Brian O’Meara is excited to have finally drawn a handy barrier with Voodoo Priestess. The five-year-old mare has drawn the ace barrier in the Country Feasts Pace (2710m) at Motukarara Raceway on Sunday and O’Meara believes she will give a good sight from that starting position. The daughter of Auckland Reactor has placed in two of her last three starts, including a fresh-up effort at Rangiora earlier this month, and O’Meara is hoping she can add a second career win to her tally this weekend. “I thought she ran great but she pulled too hard,” he said. “I put look-backs on her and she got a wee bit uptight and pulled, but she finished extremely well. “She is usually a good beginner. I swap between stands and mobiles but we have had no luck with the draws. We have drawn 10, 10, 14, and 15. “She is not a bad filly, she has just had no luck with the draws at all. Hopefully she will get her chance on Sunday with that draw.” Meanwhile, O’Meara is looking forward to resuming stablemate Di Caprio’s preparation after his pleasing fifth-placed result in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m) earlier this month. O’Meara was over the moon with the run, but like many others was ruing the start of the race. “I thought he went huge,” said O’Meara, whose last runner in the race was back in 1998 with race victor Christian Cullen. “It was just a shame they had the terrible start. We drew in behind Ray Green’s horse (Copy That) and he never begun at all, so that made it nearly impossible. “I thought if he had got a cosy run he would take all sorts of beating. But he ran tremendous sections. “I went to the races at Rangiora and it was amazing to hear the amount of people who said if he had just got away with the field they thought he would have won. “I have always said he is a great stayer and he would have proven it there.” Di Caprio will resume at Geraldine next week before O’Meara will start to look for loftier targets. “He will start at Geraldine next Saturday and if he goes well there he will go to the Green Mile. We will just have to work out a programme from there.”

For many years a mainstay of harness racing activity around Banks Peninsula, the Saturday morning Motukarara workouts hit some speedbumps in 2019. These days however, the Motukarara Trotting Association’s fortnightly gatherings attract a lot of entries from around the district and beyond; enough to card full programmes offering valuable opportunities for trainers with learner-grade and returning racehorses. Since February 2020 when the current committee led by Murray Edmonds took charge, horse numbers at the fortnightly workouts have been growing steadily, Covid permitting. At the latest meeting on 24 October, the Association ran ten heats - four on the all-weather and six on the grass. Professional and owner trainers brought 55 horses to the meet, participation swelled with the Saturday morning scheduling that allows co-owners, families and friends to all get involved. "Our meetings are important to the local harness racing scene"says Association Secretary Ross Cameron. “They’re perfect for the hobby trainers who can’t attend workouts during the week.” Association Treasurer Lyn Horsburgh looks after the office on the day. “We’re all volunteers of course, and we appreciate the positive feedback we’ve been getting from trainers”, a busy Lyn tells us between tasks. The canteen is clearly popular on a Saturday morning. “There’s food and drinks available on the day, pies and an array of homemade goodies such as sandwiches and muffins”. The workouts are generally scheduled on alternate Saturdays to work in with Chertsey, so when both are running there’s a meeting in the wider area every week. Family participation in the workouts at Mot is demonstrated by the Manson family, bringing along their horse Copperhead Rose. Greg Manson has recently returned to training after a ten-year absence, taking charge of the six-win stallion on the passing of Don Jones. “Don was a boss, a mate and a mentor,” says Greg. “We took up the ownership and got six rugby club parents involved who had never owned a horse before”. Sons Beau and Jay are there to give Dad a hand, before heading to the stand with their mates to watch the workout. The area around and including Banks Peninsula represents the very heart of harness racing in New Zealand. Blessed as it is with an environment that’s ideal for equine pursuits; and a heritage that goes back to leading players of the early days: people such as pioneering Standardbred breeder and owner Etienne Le Lievre, born in Akaroa in 1854 from early French settler stock, and brought up in the days when the horse was still the most important mode of transport in those parts. Harness Racing can only benefit when facilities like Motukarara are accessible to local enthusiasts, and when they use them well. That’s regardless of whether they see their chosen pursuit as an industry, a sport, a hobby, or all of the above. The Motukarara Trotting Association is certainly playing its part: putting on a day that’s one important part of the journey, whether the next step is back to Mot for its ever-popular grass-track racing, or on to the city and the bright lights that all involved dream of shining under. A grass-roots activity with a lot of grit, one could say.   By Brian Cross, Banks Peninsula Trotting Club member

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    One Apollo recorded his second Group Three victory on Sunday when taking out the DG Jones Memorial Trotting Cup (2810m) at Motukarara. The Brent White-trained gelding stepped away well off the front mark to sit three back on the pegs for a short period of time before driver Ricky May asked him to improve and the pair quickly took the lead where they remained throughout. One Apollo was headed down the straight by Matua Tana, but the seven-year-old gelding broke and One Apollo was able to clinch a neck victory over the fast-finishing Heavyweight Hero. “I was pretty rapt with that win,” White said. “I was pretty confident that the 10m might just be enough to have the wood over them. But I didn’t expect him to lead-up and go into the wind both times, but he has done it and won it. “It was a tough day with the wind blowing, so he has done a great job and it’s great to get another Group Three with him.” The son of One Over Da Moon was taking a strong form line into the race, having placed in his last two starts, including running third in the Gr.3 Ordeal Trotting Cup (2600m) last start. “He has been racing well all the way through. Even is couple of gallops have been good runs,” White said. “I was pretty confident that the 10m might just be enough to have the wood over them. But I didn’t expect him to lead-up and go into the wind both times, but he has done it and won it.” The Gr.1 Dominion Trot (3200m) now beckons the five-year-old who will likely have two lead-in runs to the big dance. “He’s not too far behind some of those better ones and if he can mix it with them that would be good,” White said. “The Dominion is the big goal. I am 50/50 on Ashburton (Trotters Flying Mile) at the moment, but I will sleep on it and make a call closer to the time. It will then be Kaikoura and then onto Cup Week.”

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