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Krug’s superstar qualities turned pre-race concern into post-race jubilation as he left his rivals in his wake in a brilliant New Zealand Derby win at Addington on Friday night. Driver Blair Orange seized the opportunity to control the Group One feature in front and in the process delivered the quickest of answers following a week of pontificating by fans and pundits over how the Cran and Chrissie Dalgety trained colt would handle his wide front row.  The result afterwards was both predictable and a delight to the three-year-old’s army of fans as Krug and Orange never gave their rivals even a slight look-in in the home straight.    In winning, the star colt joined a select group of winners of both the New Zealand and Northern derbies.  After taking his camp on a wild ride during his incredible Northern Derby win, Cran Dalgety admitted this time relief was one of his overriding emotions.  “It is actually a thrill just to win one, let alone two.” “Coming into tonight expectations were high that he would perform – that he would win and do this and that.” “But as a trainer you just can’t take that on board until the job is actually done.” “It is a big thrill and a big relief as much as it is a big thrill.” Krug came to be a dual derby winner during a hectic three-year-old season, packed with two-year-old features rescheduled because of COVID19. The Dalgety stable have expertly guided their star colt through a busy schedule and under their management Krug just keeps getting better. Cran was modest when he and his wife were credited for an outstanding training performance.   “We planned to do this, we planned to get him fit and planned to get him healthy.” “But the last percentage is in the lap of the gods and we were lucky in that respect.” “Blair was able to drive him hard and he was still good enough to fight the others off.” The Harness Jewels are the next target for New Zealand’s star three-year-old. Beyond that the Dalgety camp are spoilt for choice with plenty of age-group features to target across the Tasman. Though nothing has been confirmed, the Dalgety stable is leaning towards venturing to Australia rather than aiming their derby winning star at the New Zealand Cup.  “What to do next is a very good question and a very hard one to answer," Cran said.  “To answer it half-pie, sure we would love to be in the New Zealand Cup.” “But I don’t want to miss the age-group racing on the way through because we can’t back-pedal on that.” “The New Zealand Cup will always be there every 365 days.” “You are only three once and to tentatively put it forward, I would love to have a crack at another derby or two in Australia.” The Dalgety camp have the Rising Sun (July 10), the Queensland Derby (July 24), Victoria Derby (October 9) and the Australasian Breeders Crown (November 21) as possible targets.  B D Joe chased hard from the trail to run second behind Krug, his second Group One second placing following his runner-up effort behind It’s All About Faith in the Sires Stakes Final.  The Falcon followed the quinella makers through from three-deep on the markers to run third.    by Jonny Turner 

Thirty-two three-year-old pacers have been nominated for the Group One $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby, when nominations closed this week. This prestigious race will be held on Friday 9 April 2021. The 32 horses nominated are listed below.  Aladdin Alta Sensation American Dealer American Lightning Arden's Ace B D Joe Best Trio Bettor Call Me Castelo De Vide Corravally Star Dashing Major First Class Got You Covered It's All About Faith Keep On Dreaming Krug La Rosa Luke John Pace N Pride Pembrook's Destiny Perfect Cut Quaddie VC Ragazzo Mach Raven Banner Rock Legend Samhara Shan Noble Sir Brigadoon Stag Party Stephs Boy Will He Rock Yorokobi Their fixed odds prices (NZ dollars) will be released by the TAB in the near future. For more details on the 2021 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby, please visit Alternatively, please phone the racing department at Addington on 338 9094.

Blair Orange knows all about beating the seemingly unbeatable. He is doing it right now, day by day, as he continues on his surprising path to the national driver’s premiership, downing perennial champion Dexter Dunn. Barring injury, a huge suspension or a freakish Dunn performance between now and  August 1, Orange will beat the man who has won the last 10 premierships. But at Addington tonight he has to do something even tougher. He has to try and beat the All Stars in a Derby. Like the premiership, Orange thinks he can do just that with Sheriff and like the premiership he knows it won’t be easy. Sheriff has a second line draw and four All Stars runners, headlined by Anthem and Sicario, to contend with in the $200,000 New Zealand Derby. Nobody knows more than Orange how hard it is to beat the legendary stable in the Derby, after all it was working for the All Stars that he made his name. “I think we can win, because they are beatable. Everybody is beatable,” says Orange.   “But I also know how good Mark and Nat are at what they do, how ready the horses will be.  “And they have numbers of their side. We might be good enough to beat three of theirs but you have to beat all four.  “But I think Sheriff is as good as their ones, especially with Chase Auckland out.”  On paper it appears Sheriff has slightly the better draw of the three favourites as he follows out a fast beginner in Pat’s Delight but Orange says that means little.  “You look at these races and think who you are following out matters but it very rarely does,” he says.  “If I try and punch through behind it at the start then I am probably three wide on a hot pace for the first 800m and I think they will go very hard.  “So I don’t see that happening but what it does mean is I might be able to settle in front of Sicario and Anthem and that could help.”  The reality of the Derby is all three favourites are likely to settle in the second half of the field, not a bad thing with a likely hot tempo, then move together and the one who ends up in the one-one with 1000m to go becomes the one to beat.  “That sort of luck will play a huge role but this is a horse who can win a Derby so we have our chance.”  While so many Derbys in the modern era are won by horses on the marker pegs saving valuable ground tonight’s 2600m mobile could be an exception, with Sicario and Anthem such good stayers, but the race looms as one of the more competitive classics in years.  It it matched by the Trotting Derby where the northern stable of John and Josh Dickie have a strong two-horse punch in Girls On Film and Paramount King, with backing both not the worst play.  The Dickies have another group one shot with Speeding Spur, who is the horse to beat in the $100,000 Trotting Champs on form and with the best draw.   Michael Guerin

The unusual path to Friday’s $200,000 New Zealand Pacing Derby has taken another turn. And it will leave punters and bookies both scratchings their heads. This season’s classic pacing crop has already been an odd one, with many of the big names from last season like Spankem, Ashley Locaz and the The Devils Own failing to win anything resembling a major race this term. At the same time the unheard of Chase Auckland emerged as the new kid on the block, sweeping all before him including the Woodlands Northern Derby three weeks ago, at which point this Friday’s NZ Derby at Addington looked his for the taking. Soon after he was ruled out of this race with injury and now the latest curve ball has coma via the barrier draw for Friday’s 2600m mobile, with the three dominant favourites drawing poorly. Sicario has been the favourite for the Derby since Chase Auckland’s withdrawal but whether he starts as the public elect is doubtful at best after he drew barrier nine, the outside of the front line, in a capacity field. That could have been disastrous but his worst possible draw is somewhat tempered by the fact both second favourite Anthem (15) and Sheriff (14) have drawn the outside two spots on the second line. With some fast beginners on the front line like Pat’s Delight, Alta Maestro and On The Cards the race, which could have easily been a procession had a horse like Sicario drawn to lead, now looks of the more balanced group one pacing races of the season. It isn’t the only challenging Derby on the night for punters as the $100,000 Trotting Derby has drawn one of the strongest fields in its 75-year history after the best fillies in the country, Luby Lou and Girls On Film, accepted to take on the boys. Fixed odds for both group ones are expected out on Wednesday morning. The field for the $200,000 Diamond Creek NZ Pacing Derby, at Addington at 9.29pm on Friday night is.-- Duplicated (1) Culpeka (2), Henry Hubert (3), Pat’s Delight (4), Hail Christian (5), Alta Maestro (6), Star Commander (7), On The Cards (8), Sicario (9), Born To Run (10), Aloka (11), Acuto (12), Funatthebeach (13), Sheriff (14), Anthem (15). Emergency: Acuto. Michael Guerin

Top harness racing 3yo Chase Auckland has been pulled from the New Zealand Derby field after suffering a leg injury. The Purdon/Rasmussen trained gelding has curbed a hock meaning he will not get a chance to emulate his sire Auckland Reactor by adding the New Zealand Derby to his already impressive resume. “He has a curb and we will give him about three weeks off now and assess where we are with him,” said Natalie Rasmussen on the All Stars stable website. “If all goes well he could be got up for the Harness Jewels otherwise he will have a long break with an eye to the Cup meeting in November maybe. “It is bad luck from a timing viewpoint, though the owners have had a good run with him so far and these things are always a possibility. “We have some other nice three-year-olds to tackle the Derby but he will certainly be missed.” Natalie Rasmussen The All Stars team will still be well represented in the derby with four runners still nominated for the race including the now TAB favourite Sicario along with Tennyson Bromac, Funatthebeach and Anthem who all won their respective races at Addington on Friday night.   Harnesslink Media    

After sustaining payments were taken, a pleasing number of 28 top class 3YO pacers remain in contention for the Group One $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm NZ Derby held at Addington on Friday 6 April.  (Please see below). Nominations include a fine array of horses from Southland to Auckland, headed up by Chase Auckland, winner of the NRM Sires Stakes Final in November. All 28 horses current fixed odds prices will be available later this week on Be sure to be on track on 6 April as there are a total of five Group Races being run throughout the evening and over $500,000 in stakes on offer.  For more details on the Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby, please visit  Alternatively, please call the Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.   Acuto Henry Hubert Aloka Jazzy Star Alta Maestro Johnny Mac Anthem Master Moonlite Aramis Nota Bene Denario Ardtoo On the Cards Born to Run Pat’s Delight Chase Auckland Sheriff Cullenburn Sicario Culpeka Star Commander Diamonds N Cash Tennyson Bromac Duke of Wellington The Bus Funatthebeach Times Stride Hail Christian Voodoo Prince   KERYN MCELROY  

The nominations for the harness racing New Zealand Derby are out which include unbeaten Auckland Reactor gelding Chase Auckland. A total of 44 pacers were nominated for the Group One $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby, when nominations closed earlier this week.  This prestigious race will be held on the 6 April.  Nominations are headed up by NRM Sires Stakes Final winner Chase Auckland, and runner up King of Swing.  The 44 horses nominated are listed below.  Their current fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) will be released by the TAB early next week. Please note sustaining fee is due on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 at 3pm (NZ time). For more details on the Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby, please visit  Alternatively, please call the Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.  3YO pacers nominated for the Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby are; Duke of Wellington  - American Ideal Henry Hubert – Bettor’s Delight Jazzy Star – Auckland Reactor Acuto – Art Official Ardtoo – Auckland Reactor Born to Run – Bettor’s Delight Cullenburn – Christian Cullen Culpeka – Mach Three Fizzing – Mach Three Friend - Changeover Johnny Mac – Mach Three Mach Up – Mach Three Master Moonlite – Art Major Naholo - Panspacificflight Nota Bene Denario – Well Said Ocean Ridge – Mach Three Recco Lover – Bettor’s Delight Sheriff – Bettor’s Delight Tennyson Bromac – Bettor’s Delight Times Stride – Rocknroll Hanover Tuapeka Trick – Bettor’s Delight Voodoo Prince - Artsplace All U Need Is Faith – Art Major Aloka – Bettor’s Delight American Brave – American Ideal Ana Malak – Bettor’s Delight Anthem – Bettor’s Delight Aramis – Sir Lincoln Beachbabebeauty - Somebeachsomewhere Diamonds N Cash – Rocknroll Hanover Duplicated - Somebeachsomewhere Funatthebeach - Somebeachsomewhere Hail Christian – Christian Cullen On the Cards – Bettor’s Delight Star Commander – Art Major The Devils Own – Art Major Ashley Locaz – Bettor’s Delight Pat’s Delight – Bettor’s Delight The Bus – Art Major The Dorchester – Mach Three Sicario - Somebeachsomewhere Chase Auckland – Auckland Reactor King of Swing – Rocknroll Hanover Alta Maestro – Art Major Harnesslink Media      

It is little wonder Vincent was forced to run a harness racing record time to win this year's NZ Derby at Addington, given the subsequent form of those who finished behind him. Eamon Maguire, 3rd in the Derby, was a dominant winner of the Southern Supremacy Stakes on Sunday in his first run since.  Runner-up to Eamon Maguire was Mongolian Storm - his second, second-placing since a luckless 14th in the Derby. Storm's stablemate Mongolian Hero has lined up twice, since finishing 9th in the Derby, winning at both Rangiora and Invercargill. Forgotten Highway (5th) was a winner on the same day at Rangiora and Stars Align (8th) came from last for an impressive Premier win at Alexandra Park last Friday. All together, Derby runners have lined up in seven races since chasing Vincent home, for five wins and two seconds.  The only contenders not pay a dividend since the Derby have been the Dunn pair of Gottago Ya Hu (12th) and Billy Badger (13th) who were unplaced in the same race behind Golden Godess on Easter Saturday night. This Friday night at Addington Raukapuka Ruler (4th) and Jack's Legend (7th) are nominated to have their first runs since Derby night with Billy Badger (13th) set to do battle with Jack's Legend.     Harnesslink Media

It’s not often that positives can be found from a horse being injured, but in the case of Friday night’s New Zealand Derby winner it may have been the blessing in disguise that the doctor ordered. That’s the thinking of the colt’s co-trainer Mark Purdon who was running out of superlatives for his latest star in the wake of his victory in the $200,000 Group One event. Purdon has always known Vincent was a little bit better than normal. His, and training partner Natalie Rasmussen’s, former stable foreman Duane Marfisi knew it too. But injury struck during his two-year-old days and it led to him starting just the once. “We aren’t actually 100 percent sure what  the problem was,” Purdon said. “But at the end of the day it might have been the making of him, he’s turned out be a star.” Purchased for $130,000 at the Australian APG Sales by Jean Feiss for her husband, Bill, Vincent won on debut and had only been beaten on three occasions since and one of those came when he carried a flat tyre in the New South Wales Derby and took no part. “He’s getting better and better,” Purdon added. After keeping his hands clean out of the gate while others went to war, Purdon worked to the lead from his stablemate, Ultimate Machete, at the one mile and it all looked rather pedestrian from there. Although Purdon was concerned. “Going around the stables bend the last time we were low-flying and I knew Ultimate Machete was on my back and we had gone so hard which was always going to suit him. “I was waiting for him to go straight past me in the straight and he did level up for a moment before my guy kicked, it was a truly incredible performance.” Vincent stopped the clock in a scarcely believable 3.06.0, two and a half seconds quicker than the previous New Zealand record for a three-year-old held by Lazarus. It also bettered Mr Mojito’s all-comers record - a remarkable performance by a three-year-old. The win also gave the All Stars establishment their 200th Group One victory more than a decade after Il Vicolo gave him his first when he won the first of his two New Zealand Trotting Cups. And to top it all off for Purdon and Rasmussen, Purdon’s father, Roy was on hand to take the action in on a rare visit to Addington Raceway. The All Stars were in dominant form again on the night, winning not only with Vincent but also with Lazarus in the Group Three Gordon Roxburgh Free-For-All, Spankem in the Group Two Welcome Stakes and a lower grade race with Derby emergency, Riccardo. Lazarus readied himself for the upcoming features at Alexandra Park with an effortless display after following stablemate, Waikiki Beach, across from the outside of the mobile arm. “He stepped up from last week and felt super,” Purdon said. “That will have him ready for Auckland now, he’s in good shape.” Spankem’s win in the Welcome Stakes was predicted, and well overdue. After looking the best of the All Stars juveniles early on, a run of bad luck, big performances and learning curves led to him having to wait until his fifth start to the break the maiden status. But a $60,000 event isn’t a bad way to open your account. “I’ve always had a lot of time for him and the Auckland trip really made him. “He was pretty handy when we he went up there, but has come back even better.” Riccardo’s big victory, after getting well back and working hard, tidied up a good night at the office for Bill and Jean Feiss with this one in the name of Jean. On the ballot for the Derby, he was right at home in a lower grade race and showed plenty of fight for Natalie Rasmussen to get to the line and claim victory.   Matt Markham    

There's more questions lurking about the place than there is potential answers ahead of another premier night of harness racing tonight at Addington, but by the end of the night at least a few of them should have been answered, once and for all.  Who will take the crown as the best 2-year-old male pacer in the land, can Master Lavros shoot himself into contention for the Rowe Cup and which 2-year-old will stand up and claim some authority in what has been a very even crop thus far? The most pertinent of the above is, of course, the Group One New Zealand Derby.  Ultimate Machete, the Sires' Stakes King, against the excitement machine of Vincent and a plethora of other up and coming pacing stars, with $200,000 on the line.  From the outset this season Natalie Rasmussen has held a burning desire to run Ultimate Machete over 2600 metres.  "He's just going to love a Derby over a bit of distance," she has enthused.  "There's all the makings there of a quality stayer and he will relish a really tough run race." She gets her chance tonight, but will have to pull some of that magic out of her hat if she is to hold up from the ace alley and look to dominate from the top. With gate speed outside her, the pressure will be on and how Rasmussen reacts will hold a massive bearing on the race.  She will be keeping a close eye on Vincent too.  He was phenomenal last week after a tough run and Mark Purdon could not have been happier with him. "He kept coming and he kept fighting," Purdon said.  "That was what I was probably most pleased with, it was a good test run ahead of the Derby." Purdon will have options, he can press the go button early and try to dash to the top, or he can stay out of all the early fireworks and work into the race when it suits him.  Tiger Thompson's appearance will add a bit of spark to the race with his ability, undoubted.  The Brad Mowbray trained pacer hasn't been since his Auckland trip where nothing went right and he's hoping a freshen up and a return to the familiar Addington might do the trick.  "Because he tends to take so much out of himself in his races, backing him up isn't a great idea I don't think," Mowbray said.  "So we are going in to the Derby with one trial, some might say that's mad, but we're just happy to be there." If there is to be a sleeper in the race, in could be Jack's Legend. The Barry Purdon trained runner hasn't had an awful lot of luck in major races this season but could get it tonight if he can hold the back of Ultimate Machete early.  On record the Fred Shaw Memorial Trotting Championship should be a formality, but Master Lavros doesn't do much normal these days.  The two-time Dominion Handicap winner has a perfect chance to get his Rowe Cup campaign on track in the Group One although he will have to deal with the young legs of the likes of Everybody Knows, Wilma's Mate and Quite A Moment.  Enghien will start incredibly short in the New Zealand Trotting Derby on his efforts to date as he looks to do what his champion stablemate, Monbet, couldn't do and that's win a Group One at three.    Selections - By Matt Markham  Race 1: Curlimore, Mac Almighty, Bettor To Be Tricky, Sacred Angel Race 2: Tornado Valley, The Foot Tapper, Destiny Jones, Royal Shine Race 3: Volatile Lavra, Shesa Tricky Bridge, Gunpowder, Donegal Carrickfinn Race 4: Spankem, Major Shard, Aloka, The Brooklyn Brawler Race 5: Enghien, President Roydon, Heavyweight Hero, CK Spur Race 6: Lazarus, Waikiki Beach, Classie Brigade, Locharburn  Race 7: Quite A Moment, Master Lavros, Wilma's Mate, Everybody Knows Race 8: Ultimate Machete, Vincent, Let It Ride, Jack's Legend Race 9: Riccardo, Whittaker, Queen Bee Bardon, Shineonyoucrazydiamond Race 10: Sparkling Delight, Clasina Maria, Late Mail, Glentoro Best Bet: Sparkling Delight (Race 10) Value: Tornado Valley (Race 2)

It is the draw which totally shapes the market for NZ Derby but punters have no idea whether it is actually good or bad. Ultimate Machete is guaranteed to start favourite in the $200,000 classic at Addington on Friday night after drawing the ace on the track where he has already won the Sires’ Stakes Final and last week’s Flying Stakes. With stablemate and key market challenger Vincent drawn four, Ultimate Machete at first glance looks to have the advantage and immediately opened the $1.50 favourite with the Australian TAB. But while draws play a huge role in harness markets, whether barrier one is actually helpful for Ultimate Machete is debatable. He has yet to show blazing gate speed and is on a front line with some quick beginners, most notably Raukapuka Ruler (6) and Tiger Thompson (3). If either can cross Ultimate Machete early then the perceived advantage of the ace draw could be lost. Even if driver Natalie Ramussen is aggressive early, it still means he might work harder than Vincent, who has looked at least his equal in their two meetings. So the advantage over Vincent suggested by the draw may be false advertising, with the early tactics crucial for the pair who have long dominated the Derby market. Rival trainers will be left lamenting the draws though, with many probably going into the race thinking if they drew well and the favourites did not they had an upset chance. With the Purdon-Rasmussen pair both likely to settle handy such dreams and probably even the place hopes of most have disappeared. Plenty of the big guns are back after last Friday’s huge meeting, with Lazarus drawn widest under the preferential conditions of the free-for-all, a race in which Waikiki Beach needs to start finding some form. Last season’s near unbeatable three-year-old hasn’t won in six starts this term and needs to start earning some money to secure a spot in the Jewels in June. He probably needs to earn $40,000 by late May to make the Jewels and while he is set to race in some big money races in the next month, almost all of those are against Lazarus. Troubled trotter Master Lavros has come up with the best draw in a weak NZ Trotting Champs on Friday while Enghien faces a second line draw as hot favourite in the NZ Trotting Derby. Michael Guerin

After second withdrawals were taken, a pleasing number of 21 top class 3YO pacers remain in contention for the Group One $200,000 Diamond Creek Farm NZ Derby held at Addington on Friday,7 April.   Nominations are headed up by Vincent, winner of the NSW Pacing Derby, followed by stable mate Ultimate Machete, runner up in the same event, and winner of this season’s Sires Stakes and Sales Series Finals.   All 21 horses current fixed odds prices as below         The fixed odds prices can also be viewed at:   Be sure to be on track as there are a total of five Group Races being run throughout the evening and over $500,000 in stakes on offer.   For more details on the Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby, please visit Alternatively, please call the Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.   KERYN MCELROY BUSINESS & MARKETING MANAGER  

Nominations for the 2017 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby for 3YO Pacers to be held on Friday, 7 April 2017 are now open. Nominations for this Group 1 prestigious race will close on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at 3.00pm. The fixed odds markets will be available shortly afterwards.   Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby - $200,000 – Group 1 on 7 April 2017 Initial nomination fee due Wednesday 14 December 2016 3.00pm (NZ time) $115.00 First late nomination fee due Wednesday 25 January 2017 3.00pm (NZ time) $1,150.00 First withdrawal fee due Wednesday 25 January 2017 3.00pm (NZ time) $230.00 Second withdrawal fee due Wednesday 1 March 2017 3.00pm (NZ time) $460.00 Final late nomination fee due Monday 3 April 2017 1.00pm (NZ time) $5,750.00 Starting fee $2,875.00 All fees are including GST.   All fees above are included in the total stakes pay out.   For full details on the breakdown of stakes, conditions and the nomination form please visit   Alternatively, please call Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338 9094.   Keryn McElroy

Addington are excited to announce renowned stallion proprietors, Diamond Creek Farm, USA are the proud new sponsor of the Group One $200,000 New Zealand Derby. Adam Bowden, CEO of Diamond Creek Farm is delighted to be partnering with Addington. “We are a firm supporter of the breeding industry in the Southern Hemisphere and sponsoring the prestigious New Zealand Derby is an excellent fit for us as our stallion ‘A Rocknroll Dance’ is the first pacer in the harness racing history to be the winner of 3 consecutive sub 1:48 races, with two of these being Canadian Derby’s.”  Adam continued to state “after A Rocknroll Dance served a full book in 2014 in the Northern Hemisphere, he was then able to stand in the Southern Hemisphere at Nevele R/Alabar Studs. There he was bred to over 300 mares between New Zealand and Australia, making him an in demand stallion. Upon returning to the states for the 2015 year, ‘Dance’ has once again been fully booked. With such an outstanding first crop in both hemispheres, ‘A Rocknroll Dance’s’ continued success and popularity looks bright.”  This year Sweet Lou followed his stable mate and travelled down under, joining the roster at Woodlands Stud. “By partnering with studs in the Southern Hemisphere, the potential reach of these great champions will be limitless.” stated Adam. ‘A Rocknroll Dance’ New Zealand Derby will be held at Addington on Friday, 8 April.  For more details on nominations and conditions of ‘A Rocknroll Dance’ New Zealand Derby please visit Alternatively, please call Brian, Richard or Colin of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.  Keryn McElroy

This time twelve months ago, Swamp Major looked a two year old that was capable of competing for harness racing divisional honours amongst the juveniles.   Two outstanding seconds behind Lazarus in the Young Gun Series had signalled that the son of Art Major was good enough to challenge in most of the major races to follow.   However on returning to Christchurch, Swamp Major was bedeviled by minor issues to the point that trainer Ken Barron tipped him out in the end for a long spell.    Fast forward twelve months and after a long and slow build up, Swamp Major made his long awaited racetrack resumption at Ascot Park today at their Invercargill Cup day meeting.   Even though Swamp Major had drawn barrier eight at the 2200 metres, punters made him a $1:40 shot on the strength of his two great runs at two.   Sent straight to the front by driver Blair Orange, Swamp Major always looked in total control throughout the race and when Blair gave him his head on the corner, he scooted clear and held them at bay without being seriously threatened.   Swamp Major paced the 2200metres in 2:42.1, a mile rate of 1:58.5 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 28.   Blair Orange was happy to have got the show back on the road.   “That was just the kind of race he needed first up.”   “It has been a long slow build up after all those little niggles at two and he is going to need a few runs to get back to full race fitness.”   “He is entered in the Futurity in which you have to start twice down here so the plans are for him to stay down and race again next week.”   “As to future plans, we will have to see how he progresses over the next few weeks.”   “He does hold a nomination for the New Zealand Derby but we will just see how things progress before making any firm plans,” Blair said.   The big upstanding son of Art Major has already shown he can mix it with the very best at two and he would certainly add plenty of interest to the upcoming three year old classics if he can get back to that form.   Swamp Major     Harnesslink Media

The second stepping stone in the timeline for three year old harness racing pacers heading towards the 2016 Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby to be run at Addington on Friday 8 April was Wednesday 20 January where by the First Withdrawal / Sustaining fee was due. At this stage 27 horses still carry a nomination for the prestigious Group One Race that has a stake of $200,000. One notable withdrawal is the unbeaten Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained (Our) Waikiki Beach for whom at present is campaigning in Australia and has some rather large assignments over the upcoming months. The Rolleston based training partnership still have five runners in contention, spearheaded by the pre-race favourite Lazarus who is at a $2.20 quote on the fixed odds market with the TAB. Second Withdrawal / Sustaining fee is due Wednesday 24 February 2016. Any horse not nominated, may upon making the final late nomination fee of $5000 plus GST per horse become eligible. This fee is due no later than 1pm New Zealand time on Monday 4 April. A full list of current nominations can be viewed at A fixed odds book on current nominations is available at For further information contact Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley at Addington’s Racing Department on 03-338-9094. Keryn McElroy  

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