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Nathan Purdon has some bad news for his Dad. But that same news that should make favourite punters feels far more comfortable heading into the first group one of the New Zealand season at Alexandra Park tonight. Nathan co-trains red hot favourite Krug in the $140,000 Sires’ Stakes Final, which is actually the two-year-old final carried over from last season when it was postponed in May because of lockdown. Krug’s grip in the race has only improved since as he has gone from strength to strength and has drawn the front line in tonight’s 1700m sprint in which he meets a remarkable seven horses trained by Nathan’s father Mark. While champion trainer Mark has the numbers on his side, Nathan has the firepower to fight them off and says Krug is the best he has been all campaign, daunting for his rivals considering he is unbeaten in four starts since returning. The most telling of those wins came at Addington two starts ago when Krug crossed a recalcitrant It’s All About Faith, the best of the Purdon-Rasmussen youngsters, at the start and easily held him out to win a heat of this series. As good as that was, Nathan says his stable star is better now. Much better. “I wasn’t that confident that night because he had had some issues,” he admits. “And even when he won up here (Alex Park) last start he wasn’t screwed down because he had travelled up that week and was still settling in. “But he is right at his peak now. He has settled in and that has allowed me to train him how I want and his work on Wednesday was very good.” Krug has such high gate speed he is expected to lead from barrier six but the biggest concern may be how hard those inside him fight for the treasured spot on his back, with a hot early tempo potentially leaving them vulnerable to It’s All About Faith, who is by far the best of the All Star’s seven reps. But it would take something special and a new career high from It’s All About Faith to beat Krug unless things get really silly at the front end of the field. American Dealer looks the value place option as he has the gate speed and respect to potentially secure an early lead he would most likely gift to Krug while Nevada has been solid with no luck in his last three starts and appeals as the one most likely to add value to the trifecta. While Krug has been push button for Nathan Purdon, stablemate Fabrizio has been anything but yet the young trainer thinks a trick he learned watching the gallops on television recently might help. Fabrizio burned punters by refusing to go away last start and has a penchant for rearing when not in the mood so Purdon has placed a shadow roll above the four-year-old’s eyes, rather than where they are usually placed further down the nose. “I saw a galloper with it like that on TV recently and they explained it was to stop him rearing up because it can’t see what is above it,” he explains. “We have fitted one to his bridle and he hasn’t reared up since so I am hoping that helps him behave this week.” The best version of Fabrizio can beat former Auckland Cup placegetters Triple Eight and Star Galleria as the latter pair face 35m handicaps in the open pace, their backmarks meaning mid-race moves to drag them into the race will be crucial.   By Michael Guerin

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    A start on New Zealand’s biggest day in harness racing now beckons Need You Now after her impressive win in the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Thursday night. The Robert Dunn-trained mare began well from her wide barrier and was pushed forward by driver Tim Williams to wrestle the early lead off Sweet Mary. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight ultimately proved too classy for her rivals, controlling the pace throughout and running away to a comfortable 2-3/4 length victory over Sweet Mary, with Enchantee a further three lengths back in third. “She just keeps on getting better with time,” Dunn said. “She is learning to relax more and she has always had gate speed. With her getting stronger Tim was able to use that speed she has from that wide draw and once she got to the front she settled nicely. “Once she found the front I think everyone else was running for place money. Once you have got a horse as good as her that finds the front early and is able to dictate from there it makes it very hard for anyone else in the race. “She looked to be travelling beautifully all the way. You had to be confident a long way from home.” It was the seventh career win for the four-year-old mare who is now on a path towards the Gr.1 Nevele R Fillies Series Final at Addington Raceway on New Zealand Cup day in November. “She has got the Nevele R Fillies on Cup Day, that is the main goal. She will then come up north and get ready for the Queen Of Hearts in December.” Earlier on the card Aimee’s First Meddle kicked-off her career in perfect style when winning on debut in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion. Mobile Pace (1980m). Dunn was delighted with the win, particularly because of the historical connection with the filly. “It was a good run tonight,” he said. “It was a tough run and she did a bit of work and got attacked quite hard down the back in that wind and stuck on well. I am really pleased with her. “It’s a great home breed that the Sparks (breeder-owners) have got down in Ashburton. We just retired Hayden’s Meddle who was a good winner for them and a tough old campaigner. “There have been a lot of winners from the family over the years. Warwick’s late father and Una’s husband, they started breeding from a mare I gave them quite a few years ago. They have bred a lot of winners from her.” Dunn’s winning streak was not over for the night, with the dual-Island trainer recording a treble when Got You Covered took out the Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (1980m). “He deserves that win because he has been racing really honestly,” Dunn said. “He got the perfect run tonight, he led then took a trail and came through. He is a nice, honest horse.”

NZB Standardbred graduate Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) will be out to claim his second title belt for the week when he starts as the hot favourite in the Group One Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final (1700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday 18 October.  The Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety trained star will attempt to continue his brilliant form by winning the $140,000 feature just days after being crowned New Zealand 2YO Pacing Colt Or Gelding Of The Year. Krug goes in to the event after producing a powerful victory in the last heat of the Sires Stakes Series at Alexandra Park earlier this month. Purdon has reported that his star pacer has thrived since that tough effort. “He has come through the run pretty good and he has trimmed up with it,” the trainer said. “He is generally pretty round, but he looks pretty screwed down now. “It is fair to say he is in the best shape he has been.” Krug faces stiff competition, as Friday night’s classy field of confirmed starters are all graduates of NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen start a powerful line up of seven runners, including Krug’s arch-nemesis It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous). It's All About Faith has prepared for his Group One assignment by impressively beating a field of older horses after Krug got the better of him in their last meeting. Stag Party (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) is set to be another key player from the Purdon-Rasmussen camp after securing the ace draw in barrier 1. The All Stars trainers also start Nevada (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou), Rock Legend (NZ) (Roll With Joe), Delightful Dude (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and Bettor Call Me (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) in Friday night’s feature. American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal), Captain Nemo (NZ) (Captain Treacherous), and Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) each look serious contenders after their good runs behind Krug in the final heat of the series. American Dealer and Hot And Treacherous have clinched crucial front row draws alongside Steve and Amanda Telfer’s stablemates B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) and Alta Wise Guy (NZ) (Mach Three),   NZB Standardbred

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Pukekohe trainers Steven Reid and Simon McMullen had a virus hit a couple of their runners recently, but they have since recuperated and will resume at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Open-class pacer Star Galleria was one of the team who contracted the bug after his pleasing second-up third-placing behind quality pacer Copy That last month. “I was so happy with his third-placing,” Reid said. “He didn’t go bad in his very first start, but he ran last. They got home in 54 off the front, so it wasn’t terrible. He just didn’t pace that well. “When he ran third he paced so much better and I think he hit the line really well. I was really happy with the run. “I came off that thinking we are definitely on the go forward plan for the Cup, but then we ran into that little hiccup a couple of weeks ago where he had a bit of a temperature and we had to scratch him, but he has recovered from it fine.” The son of Art Major will start from the back mark of 35m and Reid believes he will be much better for his run on Friday. “He is going to improve with the run and the 35m behind is probably going to be a bit of a mountain for him to climb,” he said. “From a betting point of view he will probably be better following come Spring Cup time a week later.” Reid is still planning on campaigning Star Galleria in the south this spring, but he said the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m) may not be their major target. “He is now seven-years-old and he has had a few niggly issues over the last two or three years,” Reid said. “We don’t have to go to the Cup, we may just go to the Junior Free-For-All and then the Free-For-All on the Friday.” Reid also encountered similar issues with Mr Fantastic after his first-up win last month. “I was really happy with him (when winning first-up), but once again it has been three weeks between races. He also had a bug, which is why he was scratched last start.” Reid believes his charge will be competitive from his ace draw in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 300-3000 Mobile Pace (2200m), but said he will also improve with the run. “He has come through it well and trialled very impressively last Friday, so he is on target,” Reid said. “He has got Harness Millions next week, so I think he will be better for the run. I am expecting him to go very close to winning, but I think he will strip a better horse on the 25th.” Stablemate Commander Cathy will complete Reid’s racing team on Friday night and he is expecting a good showing from the filly in the Pascoes The Jewellers F&M Mobile Pace (2200m). “Commander Cathy has been unlucky,” Reid said. “I have been happy with all three runs, but she can’t get a draw and once again we have drawn the second line (10), so luck is going to play a factor. “But if she has luck I would be very disappointed if she didn’t finish in the top three.”

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 Auckland again tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:49pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Alexandra Park .Auckland  Friday 18th  September 2020   Race 1 Mexicana has been impressive at age group racing and looks the winner in this field.Top selection.…… Constellation tidy second last start and seems reliable at the start. Can win if the favourite makes a mistake.… Ruby Ridge  runs the odd cheeky race and good driver booked. Good place claims here…….. Wanna Snuggle  looks the one to provide a Josh Dickie quinella and will be hard to beat Selections:  Mexicana (2),   Wanna Snuggle  (3),   Constellation (5),    Ruby Ridge  (6)   Race 2 Polka Delight coming in fresh and good at trials. Good winning claims here……. Dreamers Delight has ability and likely to go forward early. Good place chance at nice odds in this field…… Millwood Billie running good races at trials but disappointing on raceday. Good winning claims here if she can live up to her trials efforts…… Smokinhotcheddar ok on the track but tricky draw. Top three player if she can get handy before the home turn. Selections:  Polka Delight (3),   Dreamers Delight (6),   Millwood Billie (11),   Smokinhotcheddar (12)   Race 3 Colin Bromac good second behind a nice horse here last start. Wil go forward early and top winning chance….. Cya Art been racing in strong fields. Has to be a good chance here if he can clear the fence….. Apieceoflou drawn badly but has been running good races on the track. Needs luck but can win…. General Montana gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Forgive last start effort and he is a winning chance. Selections:   Colin Bromac (2),   General Montana (4),   Apieceoflou (7),   Cya Art (9)   Race 4 I See Fire top efforts in his age group racing and looks ready to go this week. Top winning chance….. Uncle Louis blew the start again last time on the track but is a live winning chance if can step to the front early….. Miss Slippers racing well against similar fields and should be hard to beat. Manners a plus as well.…. Still Eyre good stepper and in good form. Place claims best in this field. Selections:   Miss Slippers (8),   I See Fire (5),   Still Eyre (4),   Uncle Louis (3)   Race 5 Krug draws in front of his toughest opposition. Hard to beat in this field from the front row draw…… American Dealer good draw to work with this week and he got closest to Krug last start. Place chances look best… It's All About Faith getting better with racing but tricky draw. Can trouble the favourite if close enough on the home turn… B D Joe draw suits and big on ability. From a strike rate stable and can upset although place chances best. Selections:  Krug (6),   American Dealer (4),   It's All About Faith (12),   B D Joe (2)   Race 6 Bad To The Bone in top form last campaign and no reason he won’t be in the top three again here. Top selection….. Double Up getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… Dina Brown ok at workouts and stronger now. Could stick on for a place at decent odds.… Doc Holliday runs some good races in sprint trips and could surprise at decent money here Selections:  Bad To The Bone (10),   Dina Brown (7),   Doc Holliday (4),   Double Up (2)   Race 7 South Coast Arden good form last campaign but first stand and tough field. Can upset if he can land closer to the speed early.……. Im A Gigolo going ok and gets a head start on favoured runners. Could surprise at good money.… Triple Eight handicap will be a big ask to overcome but he is quality. Can win….. Yorkshire getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Stable respect but place chances look best. Selections:  Im A Gigolo (2),   South Coast Arden (1),  Triple Eight (12),  Yorkshire (4)   Race 8 Bolt For Brilliance huge run to win last start and getting fitter. Looks the one to beat here……. Vatican Hill going well and gets the front row. Could upset if he can lead early..… She Reigns good beginner and getting fitter and a top three finish looks on the cards if she goes forward early. Include….. Paramount King he looked a run short last start but has ability. Could provide an upset even from the tricky handicap. Selections:  Bolt For Brilliance (4),   Vatican Hill (2),   Paramount King (9)    She Reigns (7)   Race 9 Kango huge run to win last start and draw suits. Can win again……. Mr Fantastic going well and gets the front row ace draw. Top driver booked and has winning claims..… Sky Delight could land a nice run on the fence and is a place prospect from there….. Marathon Man going good races and well drawn here. Has to be included in selections. Selections:  Kango (3),   Mr Fantastic (1),   Sky Delight (9)    Marathon Man (4)   Race 10 One Majic Kenny in good form and small field helps. Should be very hard to roll here with manners……. Natty Pagger  hardly ever out of the placings and stand no issues. Winning claims here.… Peakz Luck conditions of the race suit and he is a good beginner. Include in combinations….. Bar Room Brawl great draw and forgive last start eigth. If he can lead early he is a player in this field. Selections:  One Majic Kenny (9),   Natty Pagger  (3),   Peakz Luck (5)    Bar Room Brawl (2)   Harnesslink Media

Champion trainer Mark Purdon is adamant the setback to Self Assured and Spankem that will see them miss Oamaru on Sunday won’t affect their New Zealand Cup chances. The glamour pair, winners of an Auckland Cup and Miracle Mile respectively, were both taken out of Sunday’s Hannon Memorial because of minor hoof issues. Purdon says they are suffering from the bottom of the hooves being sore after one of his tracks has started to become too abrasive recently. “They hadn’t been bad but Nat (co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen) worked Self Assured on Wednesday and said he didn’t feel perfect and I have had some days like that lately with Spankem,” explains Purdon. “So we got vet in and had them checked out, including having some x-rays to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong. There isn’t, it is just the track wearing away at the sole of their hooves and we would hate to go down there and race them when they were more vulnerable to getting a puncture wound or something.” Purdon says the stable has spent over $10,000 on rubber shavings to go on the track to make it more forgiving to address the problem. “As for the horses they miss this week but it won’t affect their New Zealand Cup preps because we will out pads on their feet until they are back to normal and they can race like that no issues. “So they will head to the next Addington open class race in a few weeks.” The scratching of the Purdon/Rasmussen pair still leaves the Hannon with a strong line-up but now with Classie Brigade as the warm favourite.   By Michael Guerin

In his debut run, Jaccka Cooper provided a change of luck for owners Charlie and Alisa Smaill. The Smaills have had a string of placings recently with horses they own and yesterday’s win was welcomed by the couple who were on course to see the win. Jaccka Cooper is out of Art Major mare Comeon Jaccka which won a race for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams. “She had a bit of speed but didn’t carry on with it,” Charlie said. Comeon Jaccka is out of Comeon Franco which the Smaills purchased at a Wayne Francis sale in the mid 2000s. Comeon Jaccka was by Holmes Hanover out of Cherubic. Jaccka Cooper has taken a bit of time to organise but appears to be getting the hang of the racing game. “He looked quite nice as a three year old and I sent him down to Brett’s but his head didn’t grow with his body. He got upset with grit so we brought him home and turned him out.” In yesterday’s maiden race Jaccka Copper lead and had to withstand constant pressure throughout the run but he had enough resolve to hang on to win by a neck from Sentry which came up the passing lane. The A Rocknroll Dance gelding has been to the fore at trials and workouts. “He’s had four preparation runs and he’s won the lot.” Smaill who’s held a trainers licence off and on over the years, still like to be hands on at his Riversdale property. “Usually I do about a month with them before they go to Brett’s. I have a lady who’s worked for me for years. We get them up and running and reasonably fit.” Smaill mainly breeds trotters these days and particularly likes Janine Jaccka’s three year old colt Jaccka John. “I quite like him. I also have a Father Patrick that’s a brother to Jasmine Jaccka. He’s a bit headstrong but I quite like him too.” Meanwhile Paul Andrews trained his first winner when Tad Lincoln won his maiden race at Ascot Park. The six year old Sir Lincoln gelding out of Lady Writer was bred by John Earl and Tom Kilkelly. Earl trained him initially, then Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis had him for a number of starts. He also had a short stint for Adrian Wohlers before Andrews took him on in June of this year. He’s had fifteen starts for Andrews and at times has looked as though he could win another race. Andrews has held a license since 1993 and prior to this win has taken horses to the races 147 times. From gate four driver Mark Hurrell pushed Tad Lincoln forward but was left parked for the first lap before Marika gave him cover. At the 300 Hurrell pulled the gelding out and he came down the middle of the track to win by two lengths from Man I’m Good. Tad Lincoln was at odds of 28 to 1.   Bruce Stewart

It’s been a long time between wins but Southland owned Jody Direen chalked up her third win and her first for twenty one months when she won in the slush at Ascot Park yesterday. Originally trained for Eastern Southland dairy farmer Kenny Baynes by Tony Stratford, the Mach Three mare is now in Michael House’s barn. Her last win was at Addington in February 2019. “She’s been up country with Micky and gone okay. She dropped down a grade or two today,” Baynes said. Driver Kirstin Barclay positioned Jody Direen four back on the outside and approaching the 400 got onto the back of stablemate Changearound. When that horse started to battle Barclay hooked her drive out four wide and Jody Direen came down the middle of the track to beat another stablemate Opawa Mach by a length and a half. “That was social distancing,” Baynes quipped to Barclay. Masked man – Kenny Barnes keeping his distance                         --Bruce Stewart photo In the last few seasons Baynes has supported House and says he’s been essential to Southern racing during Covid times. “We need him. He can bring fifteen horses per race meeting. They’re not all stars but it makes a meeting. They’re trained on the track so they walk out of the barn and they’re here. He’s a big part of the industry.” House who’s had a team of fifteen horses at Ascot Park since the end of May wasn’t on course yesterday. “He’ll be watching it on tele. He broke his wrist about a week ago. It was in the float, a horse pulled back when he tied it up.” Baynes says Jody Direen will go to stud in the next few weeks. House won later in the day with Zoned Scarlett. Last season Michael House trained his 500th winner. Beginning his training in 1988, his first winner was Talk About Swift at Forbury Park in January 1992. Last season was his best, training 98 winners. His best winning tracks have been Manawatu 145 followed by Addington 142. Blair Orange has driven 165 winners for House, the first being Andrel’s Fancy at Marlborough in June 1998. Dexter Dunn (71) Colin DeFillipi (52) and Clark Barron (35) have also been successful drivers for House. Michael House’s biggest wins: 1995 Group One 1995 Easter Cup – Matthew Lee 1993 New Zealand Yearling Sales Fillies Final – Vee Mee 2000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Two Year Old Trotting Championship – Castleton’s Mission 1997 Group Two New Zealand Trotting Championship – Holdonmyheart 2008 Listed PPG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Trotting Final – De Gaulle 2005 Listed Firestone FFA – Bella’s Boy 2003 Listed PPG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Trot – Just Incredible 2002 Group Two New Zealand Trotting Stakes – Just Incredible 2008 Group One Nevele R Stud Caduceus Club Classic – Rona Lorraine 2016 Listed PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales All Age Pace – Moonrock 2017 Group Three Popular Alm FFA – Moonrock   Bruce Stewart

Reigning New Zealand Cup champion Cruz Bromac looks set to be back at Addington on November 10. The pacer is one of just two Australians, along with trotter Tough Monarch, to be included in the nominations for the week's two biggest features, the IRT New Zealand Cup and the Majestic Son Dominion Trot. 34 have been nominated for the Cup and 33 for the Dominion. Addington Raceway Racing Secretary Brian Rabbitt is pleased with the response, especially in a year which has been so adversely affected by COVID-19. The Cup numbers are the same as last year and the Dominion is down a few on last year. Notable absentees in the pacing ranks are recently-crowned Horse of the Year Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland (both injured) and Another Masterpiece and Princess Tiffany who are Australia-bound for other features and in the trotting ranks Oscar Bonavena (injured). "Cruz Bromac is likely to go straight to the Purdon/Rasmussen barn as he did last year," says Rabbitt. The only other Australian entry Tough Monarch placed second in the Dominion last year and there are some question marks about his return. "We know Rickie Alchin (trainer) would love to come over here again but he has to factor in travel restrictions so we can only wait and see," says Rabbitt. The first list of Cup rankings will be released next Thursday with many of the top open class contenders, including Cup favourite Self Assured, fronting up in Sunday's Hannon Memorial.     Dave Di Somma HRNZ

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Promising filly La Rosa has only missed a placing once in her five career starts and she will be out to rectify that in the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Fillies Heat 3 Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Thursday. The Mark Jones-trained three-year-old ran home well from the back of the field to finish fifth in Heat 2 of the series a fortnight ago, and Jones was pleased with her efforts. “From the draw (9) it was almost impossible to get any money, but she found the line well,” he said. “She has been racing well all season and has come through her last start run really good.” Jones is looking forward to seeing how La Rosa goes on Thursday, with a couple of big targets ahead of her in the next month, including the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 1 Filles Pace (1980m). “She holds her own out of the gates and she can do work mid-stages if she has to,” Jones said. “Hopefully we can position a lot handier than we did last week. If she does she is going to be a chance. “She is a nice, progressive filly who will keep getting better. She has got big assignments in a couple of weeks so she will want to stand up this week.” Stablemate Orlando Magic will make her raceday return after nearly a year away from the track when she contests the Avon City Ford Mobile Trot (1980m) and Jones said she will be in need of the run. “Orlando Magic has been off a long time and has only had two quiet trials,” he said. “The first one was just fair, but the second one was better. They ran no time in either, so she will definitely benefit from the race. “If she finishes in the top half of the field we will be happy.” Sioux Princess will complete Jones’ trio of runners on Thursday when she lines-up in the Nevele R Stud Mobile Trot (1980m). The daughter of Majestic Son disappointed when finishing unplaced over 1980m last start and Jones is hoping for an improved performance on Thursday. “She was awful last start, but she can do that, so we will put a line through that run,” Jones said. “Nothing seems wrong with her and on her best day she is a strong each-way chance in that field.”

By Jonny Turner    A trip to the deep south several months ago led to junior driver Max Hill winning his first race with Watch Me Now at Ascot Park on Wednesday. The son of Canterbury trainer Brendon Hill rated the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis trained mare perfectly in front to help her beat a smart field in her first start since February. Hill has established himself as a junior driver and gone on to notch his first win after what was meant to be a routine trip to Southland. “I left school was fifteen and started working for Dad and I worked for Mark Jones for a while when they were training together.” “I took a couple of horses down south one time and I never went home.” “I love it down here working for Tank and Kirstin.” Watch Me Now led throughout with Hill deciding not to hand the lead to rival Maximus Prost in the early stages. When the attackers came at to put pressure on the pair before the home turn the four-year-old found plenty under Hill’s urgings. “When the other horses came at her she really got going.” “That is her really – she lifted when they came up to her.” Hill praised his employers for trusting him to drive such a smart mare, who took her record to four wins from six starts on Wednesday. “I am getting looked after really well down here.” “It’s really good of Tank and Kirstin to let me drive that horse, she is a really smart mare.” Hill credits Ricky May for giving him early guidance with the finer points of race driving. The junior driver had 11 drives before landing his first win with Watch Me Now. Since starting out Hill has had plenty of support and encouragement from the Southland driving ranks. “Ricky is like family to us, so I talk to him a lot.” “Kirstin helps a lot and I talk to Nathan [Williamson] and Brent [Barclay].” “Matty Williamson is another really good one that you can talk to about stuff.” “All of the drivers down here are really good.” Like any young reinsman, Hill is eager to rack up more wins. He has driven almost exclusively for the Barclay-Ellis stable during his short career and hopes to build on that. “It would be good to get some outside drives and get a few wins.” The Barclay and Ellis team enjoyed a good day out despite the cold and wet conditions at Ascot Park on Wednesday. The trainers produced the quinella in race 1 when Ride In A Concorde beat Her Majesty. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Thursday night’s Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Fillies Heat (1980m) at Addington is shaping as a crucial lead in to NZB Standardbred’s lucrative Harness Million Sale Race Series. Up and coming fillies will take on proven two-year-old performers when a classy group of nine graduates from NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale take to the track. Northern raiders Show Me Heaven (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) and Miss Hathaway (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) will be out to continue their fine form and boost their hopes of qualifying for the $150,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million Fillies Pace (1980m), run as a late two-year-old race on Friday 2 October. Show Me Heaven opened her campaign with a strong win at Addington earlier this month for trainers Steve and Amanda Telfer. Miss Hathaway, who won on debut at Alexandra Park before venturing south, adds to the strong hand the Telfer stable has in Thursday night’s race. Show Me Heaven is set to start as one of the favourites after drawing barrier 2, while Miss Hathaway has a bigger challenge in front of her from barrier 9. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable line up two strong winning chances, including last season’s Group Three Leonard Memorial Stakes (2000m) winner Town Echo (NZ) (Art Major). She has prepared for her first start as a three-year-old by competing strongly against older horses in a recent Rangiora workout. Avana (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) also lines up on Thursday night for the All Stars stable after running a good fourth in the previous South Island heat of the Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Series at Addington earlier this month. La Rosa (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) ran fifth in the same race when rattling home from the rear. The Mark Jones trained filly started from barrier 9, but is much better situated in barrier 6 on Thursday night. The Robert Dunn stable will hope to boost the Harness Million credentials of two fillies when he starts Off N Gone (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) and Passion And Power (NZ) (Art Major). The smart pair have contrasting draws with Off N Gone, a winner of her last two starts, to start from barrier 3. Passion And Power’s chances will be impacted by the early tactics of her fellow NZB Standardbred graduate, Endless Dreams (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere), whom she starts behind from barrier 1 on the second line. Iksaka (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), a placegetter in both of her career starts, will start outside Off N Gone in barrier 4.   NZB Standardbred

By Jonny Turner    The road to the winner’s circle has been a long and challenging one for trainer Paul Andrews, but he finally made it when Tad Lincoln won on Wednesday. It was cold, wet and windy at Ascot Park, but that could not dampen Andrews’ mood after his six-year-old made light work of the testing conditions to run away from his rivals for driver Mark Hurrell. Andrews was first licenced in 1993, but health battles and other circumstances have lead to him lining horses up sporadically since then. At the time, the trainer was introduced to hands on work with harness horses through his brother-in-law Ben Ward, who has since become the starter at Southland meetings. “Ben was mucking around with some himself and I just had a bit of spare time and got involved,” Andrews said. “But then I got quite sick and I wasn’t able to do anything with them for a few years - for about five years or so I stepped out of it.” “I had heart attacks and skin complaints – I couldn’t be out in the sun – trying to get horses going doesn’t work so well.” When Tad Lincoln cleared out from his opposition by two lengths in race 3 Andrews ticked off his long held ambition a training a winner. “It is good to be able to tick it off.” Andrews has had previous success in the harness racing industry outside of training. The Tiwai Aluminium Smelter worker bred, prepared and sold Lord Kennington, who went on to win seven races and run second to Holmes DG in the Waikato Flying Mile in 2002. Andrews also bred and sold Kiwi Kennington, who won three races from Murray Faul’s Ascot Park stable. Andrews went outside his own breed to acquired Tad Lincoln, who he got from friend and fellow trainer Adrian Wohlers. “I got him off Adrian, he thought he still had a bit left in him, so I gave him a go.” “He has been going reasonably honest races.” Andrews added sliding blinds to Tad Lincoln’s gear ahead of yesterday’s race and got instant success when the pacer scored his second career win. “He has been going OK and when he has got a gap he sometimes wasn’t wanting to go there.” “Something wasn’t right and the sliding blinds seem to have woken him up.” Tad Lincoln scored his first career win almost 21 months before yesterday’s victory when winning for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis in January of 2019. Mark Hurrell drove the first leg of a winning double and helped produce a stable quinella in race 2. Hurrell drove the Craig Laurenson trained Sage Trouble to beat out her stablemate Miss Bamboocha. Sage Trouble ran a good second when she and Jaguar Bay cleared out from the rest of the field in their last starts at Winton last week. “She has done a good job this mare, she is pretty competitive in this grade,” Laurenson said. “She can run around 2.52 [for 2200m] but when they better ones go 2.50 it is harder for her.” “But she is improving.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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 Addington today with an eleven race program starting at 5:07pm and in this video 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 on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington. Addington  Thursday 17th  September 2020   Race 1 Manhattan has been impressive at trials and top driver booked. Looks the winner in this field.…… Vesnina also good at trials and has a big motor. Good winning chance.… Bizzie Lou going to get a cosy run on the fence and is a first four player from there…….. Aimee's First Meddle trials have been good and stable firing. Tote the guide but has claims Selections:  Manhattan (3),   Vesnina (10),   Bizzie Lou (1),    Aimee's First Meddle (6)   Race 2 Down To The Bone forgive the last start run. Good winning claims here……. Arden's Reality has ability and big swing in draws. Good place chance at big odds in this field…… Koenigsegg running good races and fence draw suits. Good winning claims here if he can clear traffic…… Only In America ok on the track and draw is ideal. Top three player. Selections:  Down To The Bone (6),   Arden's Reality (1),   Koenigsegg (11),   Only In America (3)   Race 3 Five Wise Men he broke on grass at Methven after trialling well. Tote the guide but top winning chance….. Queen Elida good last campaign in strong fields. Has to be a good chance here….. Royal Pride drawn badly but has been running good races on the track. Needs luck but can win…. Queen Of Strathfield gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Form suggests she is a major player. Selections:   Five Wise Men (4),   Queen Elida (8),   Royal Pride (9),   Queen Of Strathfield (5)   Race 4 Need You Now big effort to beat most of this field last start and looks ready to go this week. Top winning chance….. Sugar Loaf better run last start from the good draw and fancied again to lead here. Has to be a good chance in this field….. Spellbound racing well against these mares and should be hard to beat.…. Enchantee tricky draw but in good form. Place claims best in even field. Selections:   Need You Now (9),   Sugar Loaf (3),   Spellbound (5),   Enchantee (6)   Race 5 Town Echo change of stable and will start favourite here. Hard to beat in this field…… La Rosa better draw to work with this week after a late finish from the back at her last start. Can win with a good run in transit… What's Your Secret getting better with racing but tricky draw. Include… Avana draw suits and big on ability. From a strike rate stable and over the odds. Selections:  Town Echo (12),   La Rosa (6),   What's Your Secret (15),   Avana (5)   Race 6 Kahress in top form last campaign and no reason she won’t be in the top three again here after a promising trial. Needed….. Wanna Play With Me getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… Orlando Magic ok at trials and stronger now. Could stick on for a place at decent odds.… Sods Law runs some good races in sprint trips and could surprise at decent money here Selections:  Kahress (7),   Wanna Play With Me (3),   Orlando Magic (6),   Sods Law (10)   Race 7 Got You Covered good form and weaker field here. Can win if he can land closer to the speed early.……. Ned Kelly going ok and cosy fence draw. Liked at good money.… Twilight Bromac has not lived up to his first start second. Over the odds with top driver booked and could surprise.….. Major Moose getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Stable respect but place chances look best. Selections:  Got You Covered (5),   Ned Kelly (10),  Major Moose (6),  Twilight Bromac (11)   Race 8 A Bettor Act tidy trials run and should be running top three here. Top selection ……. Heisenberg has performed well here in the past but tricky draw. Good winning chance in this field if he goes forward early.… Mongolian Cavalry strikes a tricky draw but big on ability. Will be finishing over the top of them late….. Stars Tonight can do it tough in his races but this is a top field. One for longer odds Selections:  A Bettor Act (5),   Mongolian Cavalry (7),   Heisenberg (8),  Stars Tonight (9)   Race 9 Rydgemont Son looked the winner here last start but blew out late. Can win with a good run in transit……. Overzealous going well in stronger fields. Draw not the best but can win if she can clear traffic..… Majestic Chevron getting fitter and a top three finish looks on the cards if she goes forward early. Include….. Sioux Princess she looked a run short last start but has ability. Could provide an upset at even from the tricky draw. Selections:  Rydgemont Son (12),   Overzealous (10),   Majestic Chevron (8)    Sioux Princess (11)   Race 10 Champagneandwine easy win last start and change of driver. Should be very hard to roll here if she can get near the lead early……. Terrier decent effort last start and has won here before. Winning claims and opened over the odds.… Flamboyant conditions of the race suit and he is a good beginner. Include in combinations….. Sister's Delight great draw and forgive last start seventh. If she can lead early and then trail she is a place player here at long odds. Selections:  Champagneandwine (7),   Terrier (12),   Flamboyant (2)    Sister's Delight (1)   Race 11 Jawbreaker good win last start and this is no harder. If he can get a good run in transit then he is a big winning chance……. Chubby Checker decent effort last start and getting fitter. Winning claims at good odds.… Zambia racing out of his skin and draw suits. Might start favourite here and can win….. The Falcon running good races and should be there abouts. Needed Selections:  Jawbreaker (4),   Zambia (3),   Chubby Checker (7)    The Falcon (2)     Harnesslink Media

The Harness Jewels are back. Harness Racing New Zealand has confirmed that the 2021 Harness Jewels will be held at Cambridge Raceway over Queen’s Birthday weekend. And for the first time it will be held on a Sunday, not a Saturday. On June 6 all nine races will carry a stake of $100,000. “It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point,” says HRNZ Interim Chief Executive Phil Holden, “COVID has certainly made things tricky to say the least but the Board is committed to delivering the Jewels so it's great to be able to make it happen." There will be a maximum of 12 starters per race, with all races, as is the tradition, to be mobiles over the mile. “There was some consideration to running it on the Saturday (June 5) - but we decided against it because it clashed with gallops meetings at Ellerslie and Whanganui and a harness meeting at Invercargill,” said Holden. Cambridge will be the 14th edition of the Jewels, with the first taking place in Ashburton in 2007. The 2020 Jewels was scheduled for May 30 this year but couldn’t proceed because of the pandemic. With the uncertainty over trans-Tasman travel there will be no invitations issued to Australian horses and if they want to be part of the Jewels they will need to qualify here like everyone else. Entry to each of the nine races is determined by the highest stake earners. An updated leaderboard can be found on “June next year may seem a long time away,” says Holden, “but it will be here in a flash and it’s important for everyone to have such an important event confirmed on the calendar.”   HRNZ

Top pacers for Hannon Memorial A stellar line up’s been confirmed for the time-honoured Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday. Dominant New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured will start off the unruly for the first time after breaking hopelessly in last Friday’s New Brighton Cup. Among his rivals will be All Stars stable-mate and defending champion Spankem, and other stars in Classie Brigade, AG’s White Socks, U May Cullect, and impressive last start winners Robyns Playboy and Pembrook Playboy. Ultimate Sniper targeting Auckland Cup Newly-named Horse of the Year Ultimate Sniper has the Auckland Cup in his sights. On Monday night the reigning Inter Dominion champion took out the top prize, narrowly from Amazing Dream. On receiving the award part owner Glenys Kennard said the five-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight was recovering well from the leg injury that’s seen him sidelined from all racing since dominating the Inter Dominions. She also told the crowd they are not eyeing up the New Zealand Cup but do have ambitions to be back for the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve. The season’s first qualified 2YO Night Watch has become the first two-year-old to qualify in the new season. The Imperial Count – Dark ops trotter has been bred and is trained by Alan Clark in Timaru. Clark is a long time trainer, first starting out in the early 1980s. He’s had 60 wins in 879 starts. Nearly half those wins (28) came with his durable trotter The Fiery Ginga, who’s earned over $400,000. Night Watch qualified at Oamaru Racecourse yesterday, completing the 2000 metre mobile in 2:37.9 (Mile rate 2:07). Mexicana heading north Three-year-old Muscle Mass trotter Mexicana has been transferred from the All Stars stable to Josh Dickie in Clevedon. Bred by recently crowned Breeder of the Year Trevor Casey, Mexicana had four starts for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, with two seconds and two thirds, and $4340 in stakes. Ben is back Junior driver Ben Laughton has recorded his first win in the sulky in nearly a year. He piloted the Regan Todd-trained Steel Dust to victory in the Junior Drivers Mobile Trot over 1980m at Addington last Friday night. It was Laughton’s 18th win since starting out in 2018, and his first since driving Rydgemont Son to victory at Oamaru last October.   HRNZ

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