Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 62
1 2 3 4 Next »

Harness racing driver Simon Lawson has had his appeal to cancel a two and a half year ban dismissed in a recent JCA hearing. Lawson copped a two and a half year ban from the JCA back in March of 2019 for betting on another horse in a race he was driving in.  Lawson did not intend to seek a licence to drive or train “at this stage” but wished the application to be granted to allow him “the ability to support his partner who is a llicensed jockey at the racetrack and her place of work.” Full details of the appeal hearing below:  BEFORE AN APPEALS TRIBUNAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY INFORMATION NUMBERS: A 8707 and A 8708 IN THE MATTER of the Racing Act 2003 AND IN THE MATTER of an application under Rule 1205 of the NZ Harness Rules of Racing BETWEEN SIMON LAWSON (Applicant) AND THE RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (Opposing – Respondent) Appeals Tribunal Hon J W Gendall QC (Chair) L N McCutcheon (Member) Hearing on the papers (by consent of the parties) at Levin on 27 May 2020 1. This was an application made on 10 May 2020 seeking cancellation of an order made by an Appeals Tribunal on 10 May 2019 for disqualification for a period of 2 years 6 months commencing on 11 May 2019 against Mr Lawson. His period of disqualification ends on 11 November 2021. 2. The background to the offending of Mr Lawson is fully set out in the decision of the Appeals Tribunal and does not need repeating here. We simply record that it involved two charges of Serious Racing misconduct in placing bets (successful as it happened) on two horses in Harness races in which Mr Lawson drove other horses who were unplaced. The Tribunal said that the offending struck at the heart of the integrity of the Code, and damaged its reputation with the community, being seriously dishonest. RULE 1205 3. The Rule relevantly provides: (1) A person who has been disqualified for more than 12 months or who owns a horse that has been disqualified for more than 3 months may apply in writing to the Appeals Tribunal for a cancellation of the remainder of the disqualification. (2) An application under sub rule (1) shall not be considered by the Appeals Tribunal until the expiration of: (a) 5 years from the date the disqualification was imposed where the person was disqualified for Life. (b) 12 months from the date the disqualification was imposed where the person was disqualified for more than 12 months. (c) [not relevant]. 4. The written submissions by Mr Lawson’s lay representative advanced on his behalf can be distilled to the following: (a) He has faithfully complied with the order for disqualification and adhered to the conditions attaching to disqualification and promptly paid the significant costs ordered against him. (b) The Rule provides a similar mechanism to that of the Criminal Justice System in that a person sentenced by a court will usually be entitled to parole after serving a certain period of that sentence so “is released”. (c) He has accepted his sanction and “learnt“ that the offending behaviour was unacceptable. His behaviour has been exemplary, and the Tribunal should have sufficient confidence that he will not reoffend. (d) He has not had an easy transition following the cessation of his training involvement but has found good employment in the thoroughbred breeding industry, has purchased a property with his partner, but has mortgage commitments. His partner is a licensed jockey and he is unable to support her in the sense of watching her ride in races and trackwork. (e) His disqualification penalty is disproportionate to a penalty of suspension imposed on another harness racing driver for an improper driving offence. (f) He does not intend to seek a licence to drive or train “at this stage” but wishes the application to be granted to allow him “the ability to support his partner at the racetrack and her place of work.” 5. The submissions advanced on behalf of the RIU opposing the application are summarised as follows: (a) He has served less than one half of the term of disqualification imposed and there are no significant changes of or existing circumstances that mandate cancellation. Otherwise the fundamental purpose of the penalty for serious offending would be undermined. (b) The penalty decision took into account the deliberate and dishonest actions, and the aggravating and personal mitigating factors relevant to Mr Lawson, was alive to the impact on him and his career, and allowed a 15 month discount for personal factors and his plea. (c) The decision highlights the view that where a professional forfeits the privilege of being licensed, it is inevitable that he and others will suffer effects but that is of little significance when viewed against the public interest. No evidence is presented as to how serving the remainder of a proper disqualification will seriously affect Mr Lawson. (d) Comparison with the Criminal Parole system is inappropriate. Even if parole does occur, the sentence remains extant until the time period ends and recall to prison can, and does, occur if breaches of conditions occur before the actual sentence ends. As the Tribunal said in its decision, “the imposition of sanctions does not necessarily equate to that of the criminal sentencing process”. (e) Generally, to cancel the significant balance of the sanction would severely undermine the penalty regime and public and industry confidence, if an applicant such as Mr Lawson could have a penalty reduced by 50% or more where no change or special circumstances exist. Any cancellation would also undermine the deterrent effect on other licence holders in the harness racing industry, and the need to uphold proper standards of conduct, being the key purpose of the penalty regime. 6. The representative of Mr Lawson was given the opportunity of making submission in reply to those of the RIU which we have considered and taken into account. These emphasise that Mr Lawson has changed his profession, is not seeking to obtain licences in the industry, has taken steps to rehabilitate himself. He submits that, if minded to do so, the Tribunal might cancel the disqualification for a later specific date with conditions imposed. The reply contends that another later case involving a harness racing driver/trainer imposing only a suspension (Mr Lawson says a “Claytons” penalty) illustrates how this disqualification is disproportionate. DECISION 7. We have given careful consideration to all the submissions of the parties set out above and, in evaluating all the circumstances, have determined that the application be declined. Our reasons follow. 8. Whilst the Rule provides the jurisdiction to make an application after 12 months, for the cancellation of the balance of a disqualification, it is solely a discretionary matter for the Tribunal, as no criteria are provided. It is the task of the Tribunal in evaluating all the material facts and circumstances and reaching a considered decision. The exercise of that discretion, of course, cannot be arbitrary or capricious, but a proper evaluation and consideration of all the relevant circumstances is required. These will vary widely, depending on the particular individual, the offending, the length of the disqualification and period of time remaining to be served, the interests of the profession/code/community, the purpose of the sanction and any matters of compassion – and there may be infinite other factors relevant to the exercise of a discretion such as this - there can be no limitation in advance of matters to be taken into account. It will always depend on the particular or unique circumstances that exist at the time of the application. An evaluation of all relevant matters is necessary. This we have done. 9. The analogy with the parole system sought to be advanced by the applicant is not apt. As the RIU says, a prison sentence is not cancelled if a person is granted parole. It continues to run until the sentence end date. A prisoner must be released from a “short term sentence” (a term of 2 years or under) after serving 50% of that term, and a prisoner sentenced to a longer term may be considered for parole after 1/3 of the sentence (unless the sentencing court fixes a longer non eligibility period) but only if he/she is deemed to not be an undue risk to the community and they are subject to conditions which if not met results in recall to prison, usually to serve the balance of the sentence. The regime for permitting cancellation of the balance of a professional disciplinary disqualification (whether cancellation of the right to practise law, medicine, accountancy, or participate in the Harness Racing Industry) is entirely different to the prison regime which relates, amongst other things, to removal of a person’s liberty. 10. Whilst the consequences of the penalty imposed have been, and will be, painful, in some respects Mr Lawson’s circumstances may have taken a turn for the better, in the sense that he has a good position at a thoroughbred stud, and he has a sound relationship with a partner and acquired a home. These are to his credit and continuation of the disqualification would not apparently impact upon those matters. As he argues he cannot watch her ride in races, (although no doubt could do so on TV) but this is an inevitable consequence of his offending and sanction. If he were hereafter to return to racecourses, and be seen there by licence holders and others after serving less than 50% of his sanction, those observers would be entitled to look askance and query the purpose of the racing judiciary function in imposing a deservedly stern penalty yet cancelling it after such a period. The argument of the RIU that this would tend to undermine the sanction regime is well founded. The remaining length of time to serve of the disqualification is a significant consideration. 11. The fact that Mr Lawson has paid the costs awarded against him and served his disqualification so far is a matter that carries lesser weight on the evaluation process for consideration, as he would have been expected to comply. We accept it does illustrate a proper approach, for without an applicant having done so, no application under the Rule could properly be made. 12. We do not accept the submission that a sanction imposed on another licence holder at a judicial hearing can have any relevance to this application for cancellation. It was for a different breach of a different rule, with a different (and very much lesser) penalty provision of suspension, and it did not involve any proven or admitted charge of a serious racing offence, (with the RIU accepting the penalty imposed). The Tribunal is well aware of the accepted facts and plea of the licence holder. Mr Lawson’s submissions and efforts to seek to draw some advantage by making comparisons are without avail. And, in any event, that “disproportionate” submission by Mr Lawson has no bearing on an application for cancellation under Rule 1205, which cannot be used in a roundabout way to appeal the penalty imposed. 13. The essence of Mr Lawson’s wish to have his term of disqualification now cancelled appears to be his natural desire to support his partner as she rides. But in evaluating this, and all the other past and present circumstances of Mr Lawson, we are not persuaded that the discretion to cancel the balance, namely 18 months, of the 2 years 6-month disqualification should be exercised. We do not see that the provisions in Rule 1205 enable the Tribunal to adopt the process, suggested in Mr Lawson’s reply, of fixing a later date for cancelling the disqualification, with conditions. The Rule is quite clear. 14. Accordingly, the application is dismissed. There is no order as to costs. Hon J W Gendall QC Chair 29 May 2020

South Auckland harness racing driver Simon Lawson faces a near 18-month suspension from the sulky after admitting betting on other horses in two races he drove in. But Lawson, who has also received a $8000 fine, has been cleared of any race fixing or not trying with his horses, after investigations by both the police and racing authorities. Lawson admitted profiting from $205 worth of bets placed by friend and fellow harness racing licence holder Gareth Dixon, who not involved in the race, on winning horse Mr Natural in race 10 at Alexandra Park on May 25 last year. Lawson, who is believed to have been responsible for half of the stake of the bet, drove rival My Royal Roxy, who finished fifth in the race. Mr Dixon is alleged to have placed the bets on the race and was also charged by racing authorities but with a much lesser charge and no decision has been made public in his case. Lawson and Dixon won around $1000 each out of a series of bets on Mr Natural. Lawson also admitted having a $100 each way bet on pacer Madam Connoistre in an Alexandra Park race on July 20 even though he was driving race rival, Ziyad. Madam Connoistre finished second and Ziyad finished last when driven by Lawson and has not raced again because of a lack of ability. Lawson made $150 from the place component of the bet. Both cases were prosecuted by the Racing Integrity Unit in front of the Judicial Control Authority after police interviewed some of the drivers in the first race and found there was no race fixing involved. The betting patterns on the two races confirmed no illegal activity. The cases were separate matters from the on-going police investigation into alleged race fixing involving several South Island-based harness racing participants in the South Island which has resulted in legal charges still to be heard by the courts. The JCA ruling says Lawson can not drive in races from January 15 this year (when he was stood down by the RIU) until the end of next racing season on July 31, 2019. He was also fined $8000 but can still train horses, which he would not have been able to do if disqualified. With no suggestion of race fixing or foul play, the length of the suspension and the large fine can be seen as a very clear message to racing licence holders, that those who are not allowed to bet in races they can affect the outcome of, but still do, will face far stiffer penalties than in the past. Lawson was not available for comment.   Michael Guerin

Last nights harness racing meeting at Cambridge was notable for having one of those rarest of happenings, a double deadheat. There was only five runners in the PGG Wrightson Sales Graduette and as expected with such a small field, it turned into a bit of a cat and mouse affair. The favourite Poppy Maguire with Maurice McKendry in the bike came out of barrier one quickly before handing up to Killer Queen and Simon Lawson after 200 metres. Simon immediately put the brakes on and they dawdled down to the 400 metres mark before the sprint really went on. Poppy Maguire quickly got up to Killer Queen on the passing lane but couldn't get past her and they went to the line locked together. Pure Opulence,after enjoying a soft run run three back on the inner, ran on well late as did Bettor Love Me who sat last the whole way and the second pair also went to the line locked together. The unlucky runner was Tuapeka Sky who got up to the leader on the corner and looked to be travelling better only to have her inexperience come through when she went rough entering the home straight and lost any winning chance she had. After what seemed an eternity, the judge called a deadheat for first between Poppy Maguire and Killer Queen and a deadheat for third between Pure Opulence and Bettor Love Me.  The two winners covered the 1700 metres in 2:08.5, a mile rate of 2:01.6 with closing sectionals of 59.6 and 28.4. Killer Queen, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has long been held in high regard by trainer Ray Green. " She was up and going earlier in the season but then she got sick and we had to back off her." " I am not sure if she is completely over it to be honest." " Last night she knocked off half way up the straight and only got going again late in the piece when the other filly came up on her inside, " Ray said. The plans are not yet set in concrete for Killer Queen and where she goes depends on how she keeps progressing. " She is on the improve but she will need to be if she is going to be competitive against those All Stars runners." " She can go to the final of the Sires Stakes now at Auckland and if she preforms good in that then we may head south for the Harness Jewels," Ray said.  Poppy Maguire, a daughter of American Ideal pleased her driver Maurice McKendry. " She is a lovely wee filly to drive." " Nicely gaited with a bit of speed and very professional and she will more than pay her way." "I actually thought I had got up but half a win is better than second," Maurice said. Both fillies are still on the improve and will be be very competitive when the final of the Sires Stakes is held at Alexandra Park on April 24th Harnesslink Media  

One of the real international stars of harness racing in Tim Tetrick hit New Zealand yesterday and created a level of interest from the general media that this industry rarely sees. Everybody wanted a piece of the action and being the consummate professional that he is, Tim handled all the attention with a big smile and good humour. The highlight of his first day down under was his one drive at the Auckland Trotting Clubs meeting at Alexandra Park last night. Tim took the drive behind The Fascinator from leading trainer Tony Herlihy's barn and gave New Zealand harness racing enthusiasts a glimpse of why he is so highly regarded in North America. Away well from barrier six in the 2200 metres event, Tim sent The Fascinator forward and had a serious look for the lead through the first 600 metres but Simon Lawson on Strike The Gold wouldn't hand up so Tim restrained her and settled her three back on the inner. Passing the 700 metres, the back runners started their move and Tim eased the mare out into the running line and once again sat up on the wheel of Strike The Gold with The Faithful and Zac Butcher hard on Tim's back. Turning for home Tim and The Fascinator grabbed a narrow lead over Strike The Gold and held it for most of the straight before being caught in the shadows of the finishing post by The Faithful and Zac Butcher. Tim loved the experience of driving in New Zealand. "It was a bit different going right handed to be honest but I really enjoyed it." " The Stewards gave me a lot of do's and don'ts' before I went onto the track but once I got out there the drivers were great in showing me the ropes," Tim told Harnesslink today. Tim didn't think there was that much difference in the driving styles between the two countries. " A lot of people think you drive a lot tighter down under but we drive tight up there as well believe me." "Because the carts are not as wide in New Zealand, the horses are closer to you but its no tighter than what I am use to at home." "People mentioned to me to be aware of drivers pushing out but we do plenty of pushing and shoving at times at home so I was pretty relaxed about it all," Tim said.  Harness racing in New Zealand struggles most of the time to get a lot of mainstrem media attention but Tim Tetrick's visit has put harness racing front and centre and for all that media coverage the industry should give Tim a huge thank you. Harnesslink Media  

An old saying in harness racing is you never know where your next smart horse may come from. Last nights outstanding winner at Alexandra Park in Blinding Light fits that description to a tee. A son of the Christian Cullen sire Charles Brosnan, Blinding Light is owned by well known northern horseman and now transport operator, Les Purdon. Les was down at Graham Courts property in Canterbury when he was taken by the cut of several of the progeny of Charles Brosnan. "Graham had quite a few there and I was really taken by their type and appearance. "I thought they were as nice a bunch of yearlings as I had seen," Les told Harnesslink this morning. Fast forward a few months and Graham had sent one of the yearlings north to Les in appreciation for his help over a few transport matters. Already broken in when he arrived, Les liked him from the start. "He is a great looking horse, a real Christian Cullen type "Just  a nice horse to do anything with" he said. Placed with Steven Reid, Blinding Light just kept getting better the more they worked him. Qualifying in February, the then 2 year old Blinding Light lined up against the older horses in his debut in March at Cambridge and absolutely brained them. A smart third at his second start, Blinding Light went poorly at his next start due in the main to a bout of colic and was spelled straight after. Brought back up slowly, Blinding Light was working the house down at Reids but as he was getting ready for his season debut this week they were blindsided a touch when he was placed in the C1/C2 pace even though he was still a maiden. In the end it mattered little as Blinding Light give them all a start and a beating. Allowed to settle last from barrier five by driver Simon Lawson, Blinding Light was still last as they went past the 400 metres mark. Angled wider on the track as they turned for home, Blinding Light breezed on bye in the blink of an eye for an emphatic victory. He paced the 2200 metres in 2:44.4, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals off the front of 56.9 and 28.6 Blinding Light was privately timed to run his last 800 metres in 55.6 and 400 metres in 27.5 and seemed to do it with a bit in reserve. Les has taking a fair bit of ribbing from friends and associates about racing a Charles Brosnan but as he knows Blinding Light doesn't know what he is by. "Blinding Light doesn't  know who his sire is and he is from a half sister to Dream Out Loud 1:48.4 ($316,246) and the grand dam is a half to Defoe 1:53 ($262,895) so the family is strong. "The way Blinding Light goes I wouldn't mind another couple of Charles Bronsan's" he said. Blinding Light is yet another example of judging a horse on his performance and not what he is by. Harnesslink Media    

Harness racing can be tough business at times as luck plays a part of any horses career. One horse who has never had a lot of luck during his 22 starts to date is the Live Or Die gelding, Elliot Daniel. Bred by well known Auckland breeder and owner Bernie Lim and raced by him from the stable of Richard Brosnan, Elliot Daniel has always looked the kind of racehorse that had two or three wins in him but just never got the rub of the green when he needed it on raceday. Rising seven and with just three placings from 22 starts, Elliot Daniel was put on the market recently as the patience of his camp had run out. Enter Steven Reid who was looking for a horse at the time and like a lot of people thought that Elliot Daniel had a couple of wins in him. With a horse now seven, Steven Reid thought the change of enviroment may work the trick with Elliot Daniel and judging by last Saturday's win at the Auckland workouts he may be right. Elliot Daniel ran out a narrow but impressive winner of his six horse heat with the last 800 meters in 58.4 and 400 meters in 27.6. By Live or Die, Elliot Daniel is from the handy Sands A Flyin mare Sequita who won twice and was placed nine times in a brief twenty start career on the track. Sequita is a half sister to Kaiapoi Lil 1:52.6 and is closely related to the former star juvenile in Australia My Handsome Fella 1:59 ($79,573) Tomorrow night at Alexandra Park, Elliot Daniel starts from barrier six in the 4 year old and older 2200 meters mobile with Simon Lawson in the bike and looks a realistic winning chance. All Elliot Daniel really needs is the rub of the green to finally make it to the winners circle. Harnesslink Media

Last week was possibly the worst ever for the ring-around with just the one winner. However, that one winner, Equulei, tipped by Jay Abernethy, did pay odds of $10.70 and $2.50. Let’s see what the boys have come up with for us this week: Addington – Thursday Jonny Cox: Thinks 2-win mare Pay Me Quick, who has been in sublime form of late, will be hard to beat against non-win rivals in the first race on the card. Ricky May: Has opted for the very smart Dalton Bromac, who looks half of the quinella with Wesley Silcox – race four. Matthew Williamson:  Expects Very Persuasive to prove very hard to beat in the Golden Girls Final – race eight. Ken Barron: Has a massive opinion of Bracken Ridge and expects him to be simply too classy for his rivals in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race nine. Alexandra Park - Thursday Josh Dickie: Thinks Sunny Vacation, with manners, is the one they all have to beat in race six. Scott Phelan: Thinks the inform Cyamach, who is likely to head to Australia for the Breeders Crown, can continue on his winning ways – race seven. Todd Mitchell: Is bullish about the chances of Tangos Delight, who looks a strong chance in the eighth race on the card. Simon Lawson: Thinks Shedontloveme is a very good each-way chance in the last race on the card. Kurow – Sunday Blair Orange: Thinks Quaint Glen, who had trialled up stylishly prior to her debut third, can win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for Lovetodream, who also looks a good chance in the first race on card. Gavin Smith: Thinks Billies A Star, who has been ultra impressive at the trials, should prove too strong for what looks an average maiden line-up – race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Sunoflindenny, who has been backed and beaten in his first two runs back, can make amends in the sixth race on the card.  

Last week the ring-around produced six winners with Matthew Williamson, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, Ricky May, John Dunn, and I all delivering the goods. The best result was my tip Spell which romped in at odds $5.50. Let’s see what winners we have in store for you this week: Cambridge – Thursday Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can kick the ring-around off in style in the first race at Cambridge. Simon Lawson: Rates Betty Boop Brogden as a good each-way chance in the fourth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Miss Lotty, who was seen doing her best work late when second last start. She looks a good chance in the first race. Brent Mangos: expects impressive trialist Vibhuti to prove very tough to roll – race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Djokovic, who looks a bold chance in race five. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of inform pacer Cyamach, who looks a strong chance despite meeting a very good field in the sixth race at Alexandra Park. Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects both Bracken Ridge (race two) and Quaint Glen (Rangiora race 3) to prove very hard to beat. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race two Mark Jones: Thinks the consistent Jaccka Len can break through for another win – race five. Gavin Smith: Rates She’s Extreme as a good place chance in the sixth event on the card. John Dunn: Is expecting a big run from two-year-old filly Cullens First Meddle – race six. Tim Williams: Has opted for smart mare Here We Go Again, who downed likely favourite Fifth Edition in her last start – race eight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Ohoka Benson to be hard to beat in what looks an average C1 field – race ten. Rangiora – Sunday Terry Chmiel: Has opted for the inform That Guy Finn, who looks a good chance despite meeting a strong C1 and 2 line-up – race six. Jonny Cox:  Thinks Explosive Art can continue to explode through the grades – race nine.  

Last week was a quiet one for the ring-around with just the two winners. However, T.A.B Bookmaker Steve Richardson did find us some value in the form of $8 and $2.50. Let’s see what good oil the boys have found for us this week. Forbury – Thursday Matthew Williamson:  Has opted for Monnay, who is the class horse of the field but and looks a chance despite his huge seventy metre handicap – race six. Nathan Williamson:  Rates the chances of Onedin Mach, who should have benefited off his fresh-up fourth. He looks the one to beat in race seven on the card. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of Homeforabubbly, who looks well placed in the ninth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Simon Lawson: Has selected Westwind Flyer as his best bet of the week – race one. Scott Phelan: Believes Pieces Of My Heart can go one better in the third race on the card. Josh Dickie: Has opted for Katieellen Castleton, who would only need to do things right to win the fourth race. Addington – Friday Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Has selected Hikoi, who got too far back last start before finishing strongly for fourth. Steps up to 2600m this week which should suit – race two. David Butt: Rates the chances of Stingray, who returned to form last week with a nice win. He meets the same sort of field this week and looks a good each-way chance again - race five. Ricky May: Has opted for the impressive Dalton Bromac. He looks the one they all have to beat in the same event – race five. Craig Thornley: Has opted for Playaway, who was a fast finishing second last start. She looks a good each-way chance in the sixth race. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Spell – race eight. Ashburton – Sunday Mark Jones: Expects smart filly Goodness Gracious Me to prove very hard to beat in the sixth race. Ken Barron: Has opted for Change Time, who returns to mobile racing and has landed the plumb draw. She has produced big runs in her last two outings after missing the kick from standing starts and looks a good chance on Sunday – race eight. John Dunn: Thinks stable newcomer Wesley Silcox, who trialled up nicely on Monday, can keep his unbeaten record intact – race eight.

Last week was a great one for the Harnesslink ring-around with Matthew Williamson, Ken Barron, Scott Phelan, Josh Dickie, Jonny Cox, Craig Thornley, Ricky May, Anthony Butt, and Blair Orange all tipping out winners. Here are this week’s selections: Cambridge - Thursday Simon Lawson:  Expects Ton Tine to win again – race five. Alexandra Park – Friday Steve Richardson (Harnesslink): Thinks Russley Haste will prove very hard to beat in the fourth race on the card.  Scott Phelan: Has opted for the in form Cyamach in the Winter Cup - race seven.   Forbury – Friday   Mark Jones: Has declared Lady Mackendon as the biggest cert he has ever taken to the races. “It’s like Master Lavros in a maiden trot. Only a bad drive will get it beat.” Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Rip Roaring  - race two. John Dunn: Expects smart juvenile Robbie Burns to make it two wins from as many starts – race four. Josh Dickie: Has just an average book of drives this week, but rates Russet Norkotah, who will be at any old odds, as the best of them - race five. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Al Razza will prove very hard to beat again – race ten. Nathan Williamson: Will go head-to-head with brother Matthew, with the talented Sheeza Shark in the same event. Rangiora – Sunday Blair Orange: Rates Zakspatrol as his best chance of the week – race seven. Terry Chmiel: Has opted for That Guy Finn, who will shoot for three wins in a row in the same event – race seven. Ricky May: Has opted for smart three-year-old Explosive Art, who has been coming along in leaps and bounds in recent starts – race eight. Ken Barron: Thinks Livura will prove hard to beat in the ninth race on the card. Jonny Cox: Has a decent book of drives, but rates Galleon’s Triumph as the best of them – race eleven. Anthony Butt: Is bullish about the chances of smart 2yo Field Marshal in the last event on the card.      

Last week the ring-around produced four winners, all at relatively good value. This week we have a smaller ring-around than usual due to some technical problems, however I am sure it is still chock-a-block with winners. Forbury – Thursday  Nathan Williamson: Thinks Nickelson can give Father Christmas a run for his money in the fifth event tonight. John Dunn: Expects Alta Jerome to be hard to bowl from his handy barrier draw in race number six on the card. Tim Williams: Rates the chances of Queen Of The Crop in race eight. Matthew Williamson: Is very bullish about the chances of Lionel’s Meddle in the claimers’ event – race eleven. Alexandra Park – Friday Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Te Amo Bromac – race one. Josh Dickie: Rates the chances of Stellar Kamwood in the fourth event. Todd Mitchell: Rates the chances of Cyclone Prince, who finished sixth in the 3YO Emerald. He looks the one to beat in race number six. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Norvic Nightowl, who finished a creditable fourth in the 4YO Emerald. – race eight. Ashburton@Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects Mighty Major to prove very hard to beat in race one on the card. Blair Orange: Thinks he can bring up his 100th winner for the season aboard Someardensomewhere – race four. Cambridge – Sunday Scott Phelan: Thinks Megs First is a strong each-way chance in race eight. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Ton Tine in the same event. Ashburton – Sunday Ricky May:  Has opted for The Emperor Robyn, who looks well placed in the first event on Sunday. Mark Jones: who found some good place value in Eastburn Mara, has opted for Kowhai Whiz in the fourth event.              

A belief in the direction that the Auckland Trotting Club is taking; and the future of the Franklin Training track; were two major reasons why John Street is relocating Lincoln Farm’s harness racing business from Kumeu to Pukekohe. Street recently bought the National Bloodstock property on Golding Road right adjacent to the Franklin track. He is currently spending another $500,000 upgrading the property into a racing stable. “It’s going to take a couple of months before we can move in because hardly anything has been done on the place for 20 years,'' Street said. “But I’ve got six contractors working on site now. The place has up to 60 horse boxes, so we are able to relocate all 30 of our harness horses. "This also includes 21 rising 2-year-olds. "It took a bit of time planning and negotiating but we are pleased with the purchase.'' Street said the Lincoln Farms in Kumeu would continue to house broodmares and stallions. “The property hasn’t sold yet but we are in no hurry, it is serving a very good purpose now." Street said his team could now just walk through to the Franklin track rather than the current situation where they had to be transported into Kumeu or Alexandra Park to work. “The Franklin track is in a much better state and is regularly maintained, the boys do a good job out there and I believe it will be improved even more to make it the Auckland Trotting Club’s major training centre. “The Auckland Club is doing a good job and I want to support them as much as possible. "We both see Pukekohe as the training centre of the future and personally for us the best place to further our success. “Ray (Green - trainer) and all the staff will relocate, it will be the same team with Simon Lawson, Maurice McKendry, and Zac Butcher being used as our drivers." The 69-year-old Auckland businessman who sold his Pak Save Supermarket last year, said he was now spending his retirement developing his thoroughbred and standardbred enterprises. “We are looking to have 10 per cent of our gallopers race with our trainer Lisa Latta in Singapore, and we will continue to promote our popular harness racing syndicates as well. “We have virtually sold Beaudiene Boaz to Gary Hall in Perth and the boys in that syndicate invested about $10,000 and made $40,000 each on him.” “Ian Middleton is overseeing 10 syndicates for us now, and we have got lots of people, especially South Islanders keen to get in. "I think people are realising now that we don’t keep the horse unless we make money." Street said he enjoyed syndicating standardbreds – simply because they were not difficult to sell on. “They are also easy to sell to Australia for a good price if they have or have not met their grade here,” he added. Meanwhile, Street said it was unlikely he would be relocating to Pukekohe. “I am very happy here in Half Moon Bay. Lincoln Farms was the brainchild of Street and his late great mate Graham Blackburn. The company has been in operation for more than three decades having commenced modestly with two horses in 1985 and has now won well in excess of than 300 races and millions in stakes money. Their greatest victory came via Sir Lincoln in the 2012 Auckland Cup. Their most tightly assessed horse is 14-win recent Taylor Mile winner, Besotted. Lincoln Farms has won numerous age races, the most recent of them being Group $150,000 Emerald 2yo Colts and geldings Jewels winner, Beaudiene Boaz. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Congratulations to Matthew Williamson, Ricky May, Todd Mitchell, Joshua Dickie, Jonny Cox, and Nathan Williamson who all produced ‘the goods’ last week. The best result was Katieellen Castleton, who was backed into a closing price of $6.50. Let’s see what good oil the boys have come up with on this massive week of harness racing. Addington - Thursday Colin DeFilippi: Has opted for Strathfield Sun, who recovered well to finish fourth after an early gallop last start - race one. Gavin Smith: Was impressed with Karanga Red Fantasy’s fresh-up second behind Anton Oliver, and think she can go one better in race six tonight. Mark Jones: Has opted for Rock Till You Drop on the back of a couple of impressive workout performances. - race six. Ricky May: Is bullish about the chances of Nevertheless, who has been very good in his last two starts - race seven. Franklin - Friday Jay Abernethy: Likes the chances of Pacific Rapture, who produced a big performance after breaking behind the mobile last start- race six. Simon Lawson: Has opted for the consistent Gold Elite - race eight. Josh Dickie: Rates Kippenberger as a good each-way chance- race nine Forbury Park - Friday Nathan Williamson: Thinks Mr Majestic can break his maiden status in the first race on Friday. Tim Williams: Believes it won’t be long before Mordecai cracks maidens. Probably Friday night- race three. Cambridge Harness Jewels - Saturday Greg Hope: Thinks he has Monbet right back on top of his game and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the 2YO Ruby - race two. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has also opted for Monbet on the back of an impressive workout at Cambridge. - race two. John Dunn: Thinks Venus Serena has a cracking winning chance despite her tricky second-line - race three. David Butt: Thinks One Over Da Moon only needs a touch of luck to be a major player in the 3YO Ruby - race four. Ken Barron: Thinks that if Majestic Time is at her best come Saturday she will be a force to be reckoned with - race four. Anthony Butt: Has opted for smart filly Joannes A Delight, who should strip a better horse this week after missing work last week due to a foot abscess - race five. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Supersonic Miss - race five Todd Mitchell: Is very happy with Prime Power, who will attempt to defend his Jewels title on Saturday - race seven. Matt Markham (HRNZ): Rates Prime Power as the bet of the day on Harness Jewels Day - race seven. Ashburton - Sunday Dexter Dunn: Has a good book of drives on Jewels Day, but has instead opted for Artismee in race two on Sunday Stephen McNally: Thinks Hikoi is closing in rapidly on his maiden win- race five. Terry Chmiel: Thinks last start winner That Guy Finn, can repeat the dose on Sunday - race seven. Sam Ottley: Rates the chances of Mattjestic Rebeck - race nine. Invercargill - Monday Jonny Cox: Is bullish about the chances of King Louie - race five. Clark Barron:  Rates Royal Taz as his best chance of the weekend - race eleven.  

Last week was an adequate one for the ring-around with just, Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, and yours truly selecting winners. Let’s see if we can add to that tally this week. Forbury Park - Thursday Matthew Williamson: Thinks Cullen's Finest looks well placed in the second race on the card. Blair Orange: Has opted for Doves Veecee, who is now with Jamie Gameson. He was an impressive trialist earlier in the month and looks hard to beat - race five. Ricky May: Rates the fresh-up Even Flo as a very good each-way bet - race seven. Mark Jones: Has opted for capable two-year-old Pomme Roy, who was unlucky in last week’s Sires Stakes Final. Expect him to lead and win race nine. Alexandra Park - Friday Scott Phelan: Rates Berlusconi as his best bet of the week - race four. Simon Lawson: Thinks that The Wonkey Donkey, with manners, can win race six on the card. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for smart three-year-old Cyclone Prince, who looks well placed on Friday night - race eight. Anthony Butt: Thinks smart filly Joanne’s A Delight can lead and win the Sales Series Final - race nine. Jay Abernethy: Has opted for The Early Wicket, who finished a nice second on debut - race twelve. Josh Dickie: Thinks Katieellen Castleton can provide some value in race twelve. Addington - Friday David Butt:  Expects One Over Da Moon, who was sensational in the Northern Derby after making an early break, to prove too good in race five on the card. Colin DeFilippi:  Has opted for smart mare Elusive Chick, who is now back with Derek and Adele Jones. She has trialled up super in preparation for her resumption and looks the one they all have to beat- race six. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Elusive Chick - race six. Samantha Ottley:  Thinks the consistent Spell, who has finished second in her last three starts, can breakthrough for her second win - race eight. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Rates the chances of Lucky VC, who downed a smart type in Mach Winger at a recent trial - race ten. Winton - Sunday Jonny Cox:  Has opted for stable newcomer Pay Me Quick, who looks a good each-way chance in the maiden Claimers Final - race two. Nathan Williamson: Thinks Spash Cola, who produced a herculean performance to win her debut, can repeat the dose - race four. Clark Barron: Has selected Strategic Miss, who looks a strong chance in an average C0-1 line-up - race five. Andrew Armour: Thinks Trial By Jury, who finished second on debut, can go one better on Sunday - race six. Addington - Sunday Dexter Dunn: Expects Delightful Dash, who downed a nice field last start, to win again on Sunday - race two.  

Last week the Harnesslink ring-around produced four winners as well as a string of minor placegetters. Let’s see if we can add to that tally this week: Cambridge - Thursday Simon Lawson: Thinks handy two-year-old Blinding Light will prove hard to in the first race on the card. Todd Mitchell: Rates the chances of Jovani, who was a good fresh up second - race one. Manawatu - Friday Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Kilkeel Lady as his bet of the week - race three. Addington - Friday Terry Chmiel: Thinks that That Guy Finn will give him his best chance of greeting the judge this weekend - race three. Blair Orange: Has opted for Jayceekay, who backed up his dazzling debut win with a cracking third last start. He looks the one to beat in race five. Ken Barron: Likes the chances of smart two-year-old trotter B D Love in the same event - race five. Colin DeFilippi:  Thinks the consistent Rise And Shine can break through for a maiden win - race nine. John Dunn: Is bullish about the chances of smart two-year-old Say My Name in the Sires Stakes Final - race ten. Jonny Cox:  Thinks Jaccka Justy will prove hard to beat despite his 40 metre handicap - race eleven. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Messini - race twelve. Invercargill - Saturday Tim Williams: Will be Popular if he can rein the filly with that exact name home in the first race on the card. Nathan Williamson:  Thinks handy trialist Splash Cola can kick her career of with a win - race four. Andrew Armour: Is bullish about the chances of the very capable B D Windermere - race nine. Matthew Williamson: Rates capable trotter Zhenya as his bet of the week - race twelve. Oamaru - Sunday Ricky May:  Has opted for Mach Winger on the back of a dazzling performance at the Ashburton trials - race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Juneamy Castleton looks well placed in race six on the card. Anthony Butt: Thinks smart two-year-old Field Marshal can make it back-to-back wins despite his wide barrier draw - race nine.  

Anthony Butt still maintains Joanne’s A Delight is one of the best 2-year-old fillies he has ever driven. “She put the pressure on all the way tonight and proved to me again just how good she is," Butt said. "She never really got an easy quarter. It was a gutsy run." The champion reinsman made those comments shortly after Joanne’s A Delight won the Group One $150,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Championship for 2yo fillies at Alexandra Park tonight. The Nigel McGrath trained daughter of Bettor’s Delight burned to the lead early from gate two and never relented holding out the fast finishing Fight For Glory and Natalie Rasmussen by a nose. There was a length and 2-3/4 lengths back to Bettor Be Supreme (Tony Herlihy) and Unforgiving (Simon Lawson). The brown filly stopped the clock in 2:01.97 with a very slick mile rate of 1:55.4. Her final sectionals for the 1700m mobile were 59 flat and 29.5. “She just kept giving tonight." "I’m pleased for Nigel because he’s got her in brilliant condition and she hasn’t been far away in recent starts." It was Joanne’s A Delight’s second win in five starts. She placed in her first look at Alexandra Park last week. “She’s just got a great feel to her and there wouldn’t be many 2-year-old fillies I’ve driven that would be better than her,” Butt said. “I think this will be the first of a few more big wins,” he added. The gifted filly took her stake earnings to $107,458. She is owned by American’s Mark Hanover and Gordon Banks and was bred by Jack Smolenski. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

1 to 16 of 62
1 2 3 4 Next »