Day At The Track

By Jonny Turner Owners and racegoers looked on in disbelief as Ultimate Sniper produced a jaw-dropping performance to win the Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup day. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 4yr-old set a big Addington crowd buzzing with a tough effort that reminded harness fans why he is New Zealand’s reigning champion 3yr-old. Rasmussen was denied the chance to take the Bettor’s Delight pacer to the front early in the race, when driver Matt Anderson insisted on holding the front with A Bettor Act. That set Ultimate Sniper a massive task to win – one that co-owner Phil Kennard admitted he thought was impossible during the running 2600m Group 3 feature. “I wasn’t confident at all, when he was doing all that work.” “To run 3.06 with a run like that was phenomenal.” Ultimate Sniper stopped the clock in a sizzling 3-06.4, setting a new race record in the Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup day. The performance was undoubtedly the best of Ultimate Sniper’s 4yr-old campaign, that has included a derailed New Zealand Cup bid. Kennard puts the horse bouncing back to his best on the country’s biggest stage down to his conditioning. The pacer was sent to the paddock for several months after his 3yr-old season was ended early by injury. Ultimate Sniper made the most of it, returning to work for his 5yr-old campaign far from the sleek athlete that won on Tuesday. “Today is the first day we have seen his ribs – he just hasn’t been ready,” Kennard said. “But, when I saw him at the stables yesterday I though this horse is ready.” Purdon said the All Stars stable would monitor Ultimate Sniper’s recovery before making a decision on whether the horse would start in Friday’s New Zealand Free-For-All. The master trainer said his first inclination was not to line the 4yr-old up on Friday. Rasmussen made sure her charge was not going to be unlucky by taking Ultimate Sniper to the parked position. The leading reinswoman said it was a case of taking advantage of the horse’s drop in class after he had competed in New Zealand Cup lead up races. “The way he did it - I knew I had to drive him with a fair amount of confidence,” Rasmussen said. “That [race] was a bit of a class drop from what he has been racing – he has been going good races behind Spankem and Chase Auckland.” Ultimate Sniper’s withdrawal from the New Zealand Cup and his win on Tuesday has now seen his season evolve in to a transitioning term. “It was just a year too soon for him for the cup,” Rasmussen said. “He is a good horse.” “I really think next year will be his year.” Rasmussen used contrasting tactics when driving One Change to win the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final. The All Stars 3yr-old held out stablemates Copy That and One Change in a thrilling finish to the Group 1 feature. Rasmussen elected to slot One Change in to the trail behind Line Up and driver Anthony Butt early in the race. The energy she saved there may have given One Change the winning edge to hold out the fast finish of Copy That and driver David Butcher. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

A dream was fulfilled at Addington today as Victorian owner Danny Zavitsanos grasped the famed New Zealand Trotting Cup after Cruz Bromac stormed past his celebrated stablemates to salute. The Geelong part-owner was thrilled to secure the $750,000 Group 1 race, captured when Cruz Bromac won for reinsman Blair Orange and co-trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. “When Golden Reign won the New Zealand Cup all those years ago I was always hoping I could get a horse to be in the NZ Cup, now to win it - I’m ecstatic," Mr Zavitsanos said. “I thought last year he was unlucky. I thought the horse really should have won or been in the photo. This year, he’s a year older, a year wiser, everything’s just come to plan." Mr Zavitsanos shares ownership with wife Joanna, New South Wales pair Peter and Zilla O'Shea and Tasmania's Warren Viney, while Cruz Bromac has recently been trained by Amanda Grieve in Victoria before recently rejoining New Zealand's All Stars team for this present campaign. “Lost for words, but I’d like to thank (reinsman Blair Orange), and ... Mark and Dean Braun and Amanda Grieve, who had the horse too, the plan just come together," Mr Zavitsanos said. “I’m rapt. Really excited. It all went to plan, really excited and happy to be part of this big day here." Orange had worked for almost half a lap to find the front early on Cruz Bromac, before being crossed by stablemates Thefixer and then Spankem, which left Victorian hope San Carlo exposed in the breeze. San Carlo had galloped away from the tapes in his first standing start but soon regained his gait and joined the running line, tracking Spankem until Mark Purdon slid to the front. While the pace was only fair, the occasion had taken its toll and San Carlo's race was run well before the final turn. The tiring running line enabled Cruz Bromac to emerge from three back the pegs at the turn and from there Orange and the Falcon Seelster eight-year-old did the rest. "I was a little worried, the speed down the back wasn’t that strong, but to the horse’s credit he travelled super around the corner and let down when I asked him," Orange said. “Around the corner Natalie seemed a wee bit flat-footed and I was still travelling pretty nicely. I just had to wait for him to get around the corner, he gets on the pole and gets a bit awkward, once he balanced up he let down really nice. “Full credit to the horse, Mark and Natalie prepared him super for the day. What a thrill." Spankem ran second while Classie Brigade was hunting a run in the closing stages and boxed on well for third ahead of Chase Auckland and Thefixer, with Purdon and Rasmussen's All Stars producing four of the first five placegetters.   HRV Trots Media

The Aussies have sent shockwaves through the Australasian trotting ranks with a dominant one-two in today's Commodore Airport Hotel Free For All. Tough Monarch led all-the-way to salute in the $100,000 Group 1 in track record time, with Rickie Alchin's New South Wales trotter narrowly holding off fast-finishing Victorian McLovin, who was a clear second for Andy and Kate Gath. Winning reinsman Anthony Butt, who arrived on track only minutes before the big race owing to a delayed flight, said he "could feel (McLovin) coming up the straight" but held on to win narrowly. “It’s a big thing for an Aussie horse to win a Group 1 over here, it doesn’t happen very often," Butt said. "Good on them for giving it a go and getting the result. “(Tough Monarch) has come on in leaps and bounds the last 12 months. Big credit to Rickie, he’s handled it beautifully and I’m very lucky to be on it." The result will only further fuel speculation, revealed pre-race by Adam Hamilton, that McLovin's on-again off-again tilt at the forthcoming Inter Dominion may be back on again. More is expected to be known at weeks end, Hamilton said on the Sky Racing Active coverage. For the victor, the win is enormous reward for Alchin, who invested great patience into Tough Monarch. Starting his life in Queensland, the young colt looked set to be a case of a talented horse who went off the rails, having been considered unsuitable for racing due to his headstrong nature. That was until talented young trainer Alchin broke the horse in. Tough Monarch then went to Dennis Wilson, who had trained the trotter’s mother in the latter part of her career, but two or three preps later and he had done all he could to little avail. “I had always had in the back of my mind that I’d like to have a go with him if the opportunity ever came up,” Alchin said. “Make no mistake, when I broke him in he was very difficult to handle, but you just couldn’t get to the bottom of him on the track, he was so strong. “I said to Dennis (Wilson) that if he ever had enough that I wouldn’t mind trying him out and that’s how it all sort of unfolded.” Almost four years later, the horse that was once destined for the scrap heap in an international Group 1 winner.   HRV Trots Media

One of our country's greatest harness racing horsewomen Jodi Quinlan is back on the track doing what she loves - albeit with due care and caution. Quinlan is based at Parwan, near Bacchus Marsh, with her partner Craig Demmler and returned to race driving recently after being sidelined by injury for nearly 11 months. "I really wasn't nervous at all. I thought I may have been, but I guess it's just like getting back on a bike," Quinlan said. "But I can say that I've lost some of my strength and fitness and that was a bit surprising. So I'm going to have to work on that!" she said. "I've still got on-going physio and osteotherapy once a week. But I'm using muscles now that I haven't used for 11 months so it will take time to build those up again." Quinlan suffered severe injuries when she was kicked by a horse that took fright in the float parking area at Tabcorp Park Melton last Christmas Eve. She received a lacerated kidney and three fractures to her spine along with muscle damage on her left-hand side. "It has certainly been a long road back with the rehabilitation. There's also been a fair amount of frustration along the way, but I've learnt that I just have to preserve myself through proper management," she said. "As part of my rehabilitation and to work towards getting back to the races, I've been driving some horses at home. It's only been a few here and there, probably more like when I feel up to it!" Quinlan had her first drive back at Melton 10 days ago in the Allied Express Sokyola Sprint finishing 7th on 7/1 chance My Kiwi Mate, prepared by Demmler. But a comeback win appears not far away with a third at Yarra Valley with Hezatoff before Quinlan finished second on Illawong Armstrong at Melton on Saturday night. Quinlan said she was training a team of 26 prior to being injured. "Craig had his own team up and going and then found himself filling the gap with about six of mine being lobbed onto him," she said. "I really felt for him because it's hard work. There was also a number of babies that were having their early preparations. "If I decide down the track to increase the stable numbers, I'll have to put on other staff that's for sure." Quinlan said she hadn't really thought much about returning to race driving while recovering. "I probably wasn't brave enough to look that far ahead - anyway it was up to the doctors to make the call. When I got through the period when pain was a big issue, I didn't know if I wanted to drive, but some of my owners sort of inspired me," she said. "Dr Martin Hartnett and his wife Kaye, who have been fantastic over the past five or six years, kept encouraging me. All my owners have been supportive. It was then I started pushing myself. "Martin's own health has been up and down a bit. So I thought okay let's do this and get back at the track and drive their team of trotters." The energetic horsewoman makes no secret she has high hopes for the Hartnett's three year old Illawong Stardust who will be set for the rich Vicbred and Breeders series as well as the Oaks. The Quinlan-Hartnett combination has tasted Group one success in the past with talented Illawong Armstrong and Illawong Byron. "Firstly, I'm happy just to be back, and secondly I'm happy to stick with the square gaiters at the races," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness racing Down Under "Breeders Crown winners" this week take out the Matron Stakes. New Zealand born trainer/driver duo, Nifty Norman and Dexter Dunn were once again successful this time in the $181,000 Matron Stakes on Thursday at Dover Downs. They teamed up with Amigo Volo a 2yo trotting gelding by Father Patrick gapping rivals to win in a time of 1:52.4. Coming in a huge 1.6 seconds in front of the second place getter.  Just two weeks ago the same trio won the $790,000 2yo Trotting Colts and Geldings Final in Canada. Amigo Hall has had 11 starts for 6 wins and 2 seconds for earnings of $700,000 lifetime to date. A recent arrival in North America that is making news is Lifeonthebeach A at Saratoga. A Somebeachsomewhere 5yo gelding that raced in Australia, Lifeonthebeach had 34 starts for 7 wins 11 seconds and 3 thirds for $76,410. His last 10 starts at Albion Park resulted in no wins.  Lifeonthebeach bled in Australia twice and as a result was barred from racing for life from its last start on the 22nd of June 2019. What a waste of of very good horse! Sold to North America for next to nothing Lifeonthebeach has had 10 starts for 7 wins and 1 second for $35,000 in earnings to date and has taken a record of 1:53 on a half-mile track. Why Lasix cannot be used Down Under to help a horse really does not make sense to me. Monday 4th November Dover Downs DE Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $7,000   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Crombie A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $4,500   Plainridge Park MA Zinny Mach N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $12,000 Stihl N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $8,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Shecandance N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $19,000   Tuesday 5th November   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Benson Boys N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $15,000 Lynbar Rose N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $11,000   The Meadows PA Hilary Barry N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $7,500 Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $20,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Beyondthesilence N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $12,500 Shes Sporty A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,500 Lettucerockthem A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $17,000   Wednesday 6th November   Dover Downs DE Lincolns Girl N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $14,000 Delishka N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $25,000   The Meadows PA The Spinster N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $9,600   Thursday 7th November   Dover Downs DE Mister Ohanzee A – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $9,000 Johnny Disco A – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $15,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Djokovic N – Time: 1:58.2, Stake: $7,000   Monticello Raceway NY Milady Denver A – Time: 1:59.1, Stake: $3,300   Plainridge Park MA Tisadream N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,500 Fernleigh Rebel N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $9,000 Bettors Fire N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $20,000   Saratoga Harness NY Myeyesadoreya N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $4,500 Miss Irish Rose A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $14,000 The Charging Moa N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $18,000 Gina Grace N – Time: 1:56.4, Stake: $14,000 Culinary Delight N – Time: 1:58.3, Stake: $4,500   Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Captain Dolmio N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000 Backup A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Lovin Miss Daisy N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $17,000 Highview Conall N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $12,500   Friday 8th November   Batavia Downs NY Iammrbrightside N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $4,900   Freehold Raceway NJ Eden Paige N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,300   Harrahs Hoosier Park IN The Empiressister N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $12,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Gold Orchid N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $18,000 Lucky Artist A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $11,000 American Empress N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $8,500   Meadowlands NJ Shezza GNP N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $12,500 Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $16,000 Glenferrie Bronte N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $9,750   Yonkers Raceway NY Kaitlyn N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $42,000   Saturday 9th November   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Sammy The Bull N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $15,000   Meadowlands NJ Whittaker N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $9,000 Jacks Shadow N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $21,000 Franco Totem N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $16,000 Barimah A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $12,500   Saratoga Harness NY Fcee N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $6,420 Chumlee A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,000 Bettor Not Bitter A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $18,000 Lifeonthebeach A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $11,770   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Stars Align A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $12,500   Sunday 10th November   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Billy Badger N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $11,000 Persistent Threat A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $11,000 Firenglow A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,000 Bright Diamond N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $12,500   Pompano Park FL Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,000   Saratoga Harness NY Mr Cool Seaeyre N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $18,000   Scarborough Downs ME Milwood Faith N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $4,400   Previous weeks 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety   Carter Dalgety

For the second time in a week a major Cup could come down to tempo at Addington on Tuesday Because just as the dawdling 3200m and genius Craig Williams ride won Vow And Declare the Melbourne Cup last Tuesday, the speed today’s $750,000 New Zealand Cup is run at might decide whether Thefixer or Spankem emerges victorious. Of course the Mark Purdon-trained pair aren’t the only winning chances in the 13-strong field but they dominate the market for a reason, they are the only two proven group one winners at the highest level in today’s race. Rivals like Cruz Bromac (NZ F-F-A), A G’s White Socks (Easter Cup) and Our Uncle Sam (Bohemia F-F-A) have won group one open class races but not one of the majors, whereas Thefixer is the defending NZ Cup champ and Spankem downed him in the Miracle Mile. So they go into today’s race not needing to reach a new peak to win whereas their rivals do. After differing but impressive lead-up form, with usually perfect manners and on their home track it is hard to see how one of the pair won’t win. But which one could come down to tempo. If the Cup turns into a heavyweight slugfest Thefixer would seem the best equipped to handle it, whereas a slower Cup with a winning time between 3:55 and 4:00 would seem to play into Spankem’s hooves. “I think it is fair to say Thefixer can do more work in a race but Spankem might be a touch faster,” says Purdon, aiming for his fourth Cup in a row. “I couldn’t be happier with them. Spankem has gone well all campaign while Thefixer has really improved in the last two weeks. "So it might come down to manners and the runs they get.” If punters assume the pair both step equally then the problem for Thefixer could be a rival to push the pace, with Victorian visitor San Carlo looking the most likely to turn this into a sub 3:55 Cup but his ace draw is a worry. Thefixer overcame a mid-campaign setback to win the Cup last year and might deserve to be closer in the market to his stablemate but Spankem has so few weaknesses and looks in the zone so he is still the one to beat. Purdon doesn’t have the usual domination of all markets today but suggests, in order, Amazing Dream (race eight), Taxman (race 12) and One Change (race seven) are his next best winning hopes after his Cup quartet. And while he believes Ultimate Sniper is working well enough to take the junior free-for-all he admits to favouring northern Triple Eight after his booming Kaikoura Cup third.   Michael Guerin

John Dunn may not finish New Zealand Cup day the most successful driver of the meeting but goes into it as the most important. Because in all three groups one races at Addington today there is an element of “but what if John’s horse does this” while Dunn has serious winning hopes in a quartet of support races. Which means Dunn holds the key to punting success on harness racing’s biggest day. Dunn has the potential early leader in both the $750,000 New Zealand Cup and the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final which gives him options to hand to a favoured rival, securing the passing lane and the almost guaranteed decent big money an economical trip would provide. Or decide to stay in front and make life harder for his challengers, opening the races up to upsets. In the $100,000 NZ Trot Free-For-All he drives the best horse in Sundees Son, his concern being the Trotter of the Year’s mental rather than physical condition. But Cup day is about the Cup and while Dunn’s father Robert trains both Classie Brigade and Henry Hubert, it is the former who has the manners to be the kingmaker. Classie Brigade begun brilliantly before leading throughout in the Kaikoura Cup last Monday but that was against weaker opposition on a leader’s track in a race 800m shorter. With standing start manners concerns over some on the front line, especially the Australians, Classie Brigade could well lead again first time into the Addington straight today. So what would Dunn, who has parked out his arch rivals the All Stars more than any driver in New Zealand in recent years, do? “I don’t think you can make those decisions in advance and of course he would have to step away quickly first,” says Dunn in the expected response.  “And he (Classie Brigade) is a good horse. You would like to think he could win the race.”
 But big deeper and Dunn admits that the two favourites Spankem and Thefixer might be better than his charge. He won’t say it, but you get the feeling if either came seriously looking for the lead Dunn would take the short way home. A decision like that from Dunn, or any rival driver, would seem to hand the Cup to whoever out of Spankem or Thefixer got their first and could set up a lead-trail scenario for the favourites. The horse least likely to bend to the favoured pair’s will is Victorian pacer San Carlo but with zero standing start experience and the dreaded ace draw, the start could be a lottery he doesn’t have a winning ticket in. While all of that makes Classic Brigade a great place bet at $3.50, in the Sires’ Stakes things look trickier from barrier one for Above N Beyond. He is good, maybe really good, but even though it is a sprint the Sires’ Final can be brutal for leaders. So Dunn wants to lead early and see how much pressure is poured on. “It is easy to think I would hand to One Change (barrier two and favourite) and get the trail but I doubt he will be the first horse there and anything on the front line could come out fast. “So it is a really hard to race to predict. But I’d rather be barrier one than nine.” Sundees Son is one on the second line in the trot but that is not as big a concern as the fact he has galloped in his last three public appearances. “I think it is in his head now and that is a worry,” says Dunn. “He is not sore anywhere and feels fine but we have to get his head right and I am not sure he is there yet.” In the support races Dunn reins four favoured runners, starting with debutante Sugar Loaf in race two. “She has really impressed me at the trials and has the speed to stay handy early. “Bonnie Highlander (race three) was really good at the trials last week and I’d rate her the better of our two chances off the front line. “And Heisenberg (race eight) has to be hard to beat. He won really well at Kaikoura last week and has bounced through that well.” Add in another impressive trialist last week in Belmont Major (race nine) and Dunn is in for a big Cup day. But punters would be smartest to put their big money on him when the smaller money is on the line.   Michael Guerin

The prodigal son of Canterbury harness racing laughs about returning to its greatest day as the enemy. But the result could still be the same. Anthony Butt may live in Sydney these days and be driving a NSW trotter in Tough Monarch in Tuesday's $100,000 NZ Trotting Free-For-All but he is about as Canterbury as horsepeople come. “It will always be home, even if I don’t live here,” says Butt, a member of the Jones-Butt dynasty that ruled harness racing in the region for decades. Butt and his brother Tim so dominated the trotting scene Anthony has won our greatest trot race the Dominion nine times as a drive, which makes his mere five wins in the Trotting Free-For-All almost seem normal by comparison. They also pillaged Australia’s best trotting races and of course won almost every major pacing race as well but now Butt is returning home to help the Aussies snare one of our group ones. "It is a bit ironic coming back home to try and win one for Australia,” says Butt. “And I think he can do it. He is a very good horse, has great gate speed and is trotting beautifully. “So I am confident he will end up in front and take plenty of running down.” The Free-For-All may be a group one but its awkward timing three days before the far richer Dominion means Oscar Bonavena and Marcoola are not there and the most favoured locals are drawn poorly. So with back up from now Victorian ex-pat trotter McLovin, the Australians have a very rare shot at group one trotting glory during Cup week. It isn’t Butt’s only shot though as he thinks North Island three-year-old Line Up is a real show in the $170,000 Sires’ Stakes Final. Butt has become the go-to driver for NSW’s biggest harness owner Emilio Rosati so picks up the drive on the Ray Green-trained speedster and he loved the feel he got from him at the trials last week. “He is real ability and I think he can win, he is good enough,” says Butt. “Some years the Sires’ Stakes has a standout three-year-old who turns out to be a champion but this year hasn’t shown us one of those yet so it might be more even than usual.” As for his homecoming, Butt says Cup Day is one of the world’s great harness meetings. “I have driven all over the world, obviously everywhere in Australasia, at a lot of Elitlopp (Sweden) meetings and on Hambletonian Day in the States and there is no place in the world where the city stops for a harness meeting like it does on Tuesday.”   Michael Guerin

November 10, 2019 - Eskilstuna hosted several SE Breeders Crown events this day with the harness racing four-year-old Mares (purse 149.696€, 2140 meters auto start) going to 1.11.8kr timed and 3.3/1 Conrads Rodluva (4f SJs Caviar-Moviestar-Juliano Star) with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer Daniel Reden. 3.7/1 Activated (4f Jacose-Marelle-Viking Kronos) was second for Carl Johan Jepson and trainer Fredrik Wallin. Third was 16.7/1 Staro Miami (4f SJs Caviar-Stunning Lindsey-Malabar Man) with Mika Forss up. The Breeders Crown for three-year-old Fillies (distance 2140 meters autostart) went to 1.13.2kr timed and 4.9/1 Ganga Bae (3f Muscle Hill-Alexia As-Conway Hall) for Jorma Kontio. She defeated the 1.7/1 favorite Mascate Match (3f Muscle Mass-Captivation-Conway Hall) reined by Pekka Korpi and the 20/1 third finishing Milady Grace (3f Ready Cash-Khao Manee-Muscles Yankee). The total purse was 149.696€. The three-year-old Males contested their 2140 meter autostart Breeders Crown and the 1.12.5kr timed winner was 4.4/1 Brother Bill (3g From Above-Clear As A Bell-Super Arnie) with Jorma Kontio up for trainer Timo Nurmos. He defeated 9.6/1 Global Adventure (3m Sjs Caviar-Platinum Shine-Viking Kronos) and third finishing 28.8/1 Guzz Mearas (3m Muscle Mass-Intensity Kronos-Viking Kronos) reined by Johan Untersteiner. Thomas H. Hicks

November 9, 2019 - 3/1 odds Nileo (8m Jillis Joker-Ciessa-Diamond Way) reined by harness racing trainer Imre Fazekas took the Kincsem Park featured Szabadkai DIJ (purse 1,200,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart) timed in 1.18.9kr over a rain-soaked course. Heinz Beck bred the Stall Druf horse that recorded his 19th win in 48 starts to go with 22 placings. Staring from post six, Fazekas took Nileo promptly to the front and he drew off in the final bend on way to an easy and impressive score. The handsome Nileo bested the 1.9/1 favorite Uran Lady (6f Maximus Lindy-Vas Lady) teamed by Veljko Mazsity and 6.9/1 Grumetti (11g Varenne-Tahora-Pine Chip) with Dejan Katanic up. The undercard included the Adai DIJ (purse 600,000Huf, 1900 meters autostart) and 74/1 Vital RG (5m SJs Photo-Vitesse OK) with Tibor Hajnal up for trainer Csaba Lakatos. Unika Vik (6f Cantab Hall-Nashville OM-Uronometro) was second at 3.1/1 with Andor Angyal aboard. 35/1 Timoko RK (6m Doctor Sugar RL) took third for Robert Varhidi. Nileo reined by trainer Imre Fazekas  Thomas H. Hicks  

November 10, 2019 - Cokstile (6m Quite Easy-Joystile-Coktail Jet) won his elimination and then won the harness racing Mattii finale in record time 1.10.4kr on the 806 meter Montegiorgio course with Antonio DiNardo at the lines. The purse was 154,000€ in the finale that was raced over 1600 meters autostart. Arazi Boko (12g Varenne-Laura Kemp-Express Ride) was a game second for Alessandro Gocciadoro and third was the rallying Billie de Montfort (8f Jasmin de Flore-Quismy de Montfort) handled by Gabriele Gelormini. The eliminations (batterias) went to Pantera del Pino (10f Turbo Sunbd-Desire’ del Pino) in the A batteria (Pascia’Lest) timed in 1.11.2kr for Rene Legati, a narrow victory over Vanesia EK (5f Exploit Caf) reined by Pietro Gubellini. Pocahontas Diamant (8f Look de Star) was third for Alessandro Gocciadoro and fourth was Billie de Montfort (8f Jasmin de Flore) with Gabriele Gelormini up. The batterias were raced over 1600 meters autostart for 12,100€ purses. Batteria B was named the Moni Maker and the 1.10.8kr victory went to Cokstile and driver DiNardo. Vesna (5f Libeccio Grif) was second for Rene Legati and Visa As (5f Varenne) was third for Gocciadoro. The Batteria C “Dryade des Bois” saw veteran Arazi Boko (12g Varenne) score by six lengths timed in 1.11.2kr for Gocciadoro, with Orion Tilly (8g Clerk Magistrate-Intra Tilly-Super Arnie) second and third was Von Wise As (5m Muscle Massive-Desert Flower K) for Andrea Guzzinati. Later in the card was the PR Mack Grace Consolation (purse 15,400€, 1600 meters) that saw Vincent SM (5n CCs Chuckie T-Nikata Yank SM) score in 1.11.3kr for Mario Minopoli Jr. Unno Del Duomo (6m Ganymede-Irma del Duomo) was second for Antonio Greppi and MT Insider (9m Offshore Dream) was third. On the same program was the GP San Paolo (purse 40,040€, 1600 meters autostart) and that 1.11.2kr timed victory was earned by Zilath (4m Maharajah-Only LB-Conway Hall) reined by Guzzinati. A length back was Zefiro d’Ete (4m Majo l’Amore) and third went to Zarrezza (4m Ready Cash). Thomas H. Hicks

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – Pollack Racing LLC’s Endeavor, an 11-1 harness racing longshot, wore down heavily-favored Breeders Crown winner American History down the stretch to win Sunday’s $100,000 Potomac Pace by a neck at Rosecroft.   Driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Jeff Cullipher, Endeavor, a 6-year-old gelded son of American Ideal, won for the sixth time in 24 starts this year and boosted his career earnings to more than $600,000 after a game, first-over trip. Dealt A Winner, 16-1 and competing in his fourth Potomac Pace, rallied along the inside to finish second, a neck in front of the 3-5 favorite American History. Dorsoduro Hanover, second behind American History in the Breeders Crown, was fourth. Courtly Choice was fifth and Slick Tony sixth.   Endeavor, who paced the mile 1:49.4, returned $24.60. The exacta paid $145.40.      The Potomac’s eight-horse field went to post with only six behind the gate when 2018 Horse of the Year McWicked (post 7) and This Is The Plan (post 5) both scratched due to sickness. The popular 5-2 favorite, McWicked was scratched due to a fever.   Scoring away from the gate, Dorsoduro Hanover and driver Matt Kakaley went to the front but driver Joe Bongiorno moved American History to the lead around  the first turn and went a quarter mile in :27.1 and the half in :54.2. Pacing fourth around the first turn, Tetrick sent Endeavor first-over while American History stopped the teletimer in 1:21 2/5 for three quarters. Despite a game effort by the Breeders Crown winner down the stretch, Endeavor kept grinding toward the leader before overtaking the favorite in the final yards.    “I was hoping Joe (Bongiorno) and Dorsodura would kind of fight it out to the quarter, but I think Matty (Kakaley) was already planning on following Joey’s horse,” Tetrick said.   “It worked out good for me. I was watching Joe’s horse leave the gate and he seemed a little rough-gaited. I thought maybe if I can get to him and pressure him down the backside I can have a little shot at maybe being second or third instead of fourth. My horse is a great, big grinding horse and I wanted to wear him down. “I was doing all I could to get to him. I was pushing my horse, but that’s the way he likes it.”     Rosecroft

With the late scratches of both McWicked and This Is The Plan, all eyes were on harness racing favorite American History in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway Sunday night. Racing fans were treated to an exciting upset finish as the starting gate pulled away for the start of the ninth race feature. It was Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley) first to show with Dealt A Winner (David Miller) grabbing the pocket spot and American History (Joe Bongiorno) moving up on the outside to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. American History cleared to the front and led the field to the half mile in :54.2. Then in the backstretch, Endeavor and driver Tim Tetrick) came first-over and starting grinding his way towards the leaders at the three-quarters in 1:21.2. At the top of the stretch, American History still had a one length lead with Endeavor coming on. Then in a classic stretch drive, Endeavor and Tetrick got by American History and then held off Dealt A Winner to win by a neck in 1:49.4. American History was third by a half length in the three-horse dash to the wire. Sent off at odds of 11-1, Endeavor posted his sixth win of the season. The six-year-old gelded son of American Ideal is trained by Jeff Cullipher, who co-owns him with Pollack Racing, LLC. He paid $24.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Two of the top harness racing horses scheduled to race tonight in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway have been scratched. McWicked was scratched due to a fever reported trainer Casie Coleman-Hearty. "I wanna apologize to the fans who were hoping to see Mcwicked at Rosecroft tonight. He has been in Jersey over a week and been great, he was great this am. His caretaker went to go get him a bit ago to ship for tonight and he hadn't ate his lunch (very unusual for wicked he eats everything). He felt warm so he checked his temp and he was high, even used a second thermometer both read the same. "Sadly we do gotta do what’s right for him and scratch him tonight. The vet came in on a Sunday pulled blood and treating his temp and I’m sure he will hopefully get over this quick and be able to still go to the TVG."   Also scratched from the same race is Ron Burke's This Is The Plan. Top four-year-old this year became the fastest horse ever in Canada on a half mile track with a 1:49.1 record in the $200,000 Prix d'Ete at Trois-Rivieres.    by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Astute young Sydney harness racing trainer Rickie Alchin can't wait to showcase his exciting trotter in New Zealand - but he has the utmost respect for his rivals. Eight-year-old Tough Monarch (Monarch USA-Tough Tussle NZ (Wrestle NZ) will step out today (Tuesday) at Addington in the $100,000 Group One NZ Trotting FFA over the 1980m trip. It will be run at 2.47pm NZ (12.47pm Australian) time. "He is right where I wanted him to be-he's settled in well, but these types of races are hard to win," Alchin said. "We ended up with a nice barrier draw in gate five, with a chance we will move in one closer if the emergency doesn't get a start, so we'll be looking for the top," he said. "But I have a lot of respect for a few of our rivals. McLovin, from the Andy and Kate Gath barn hasn't put a foot wrong and Winterfell (Mark Purdon) was eye-catching at the trials recently. "And there's some others as well including Sundees Son from the Dunn stable. From what I've seen of this horse, potentially he could be anything. If he turns up on the day, we could all have our work cut out." Alchin, who drove Tough Monarch to win at Menangle on October 19 in his most recent victory, said he was elated to have the services of master driver Anthony Butt. "I enjoy driving, but it just made sense to put 'Ants' on. He's an ex-Kiwi and over here he knows a bit more than me about the tracks, the other horses and their drivers," Alchin said. Butt and Tough Monarch combined last week to post an impressive two length trial win, seemingly in cruise mode. The mile rate was a tick over two minutes for 1980m and they ran to the line in 28.8 secs. Alchin, who flew out with Tough Monarch on October 29, is stabled with renowned NZ trainer Cran Dalgety, of Kentuckiana Lodge, West Melton, Canterbury. The 32-year-old admits that he sometimes has to stop and pinch himself in what has so far been a marvellous ride. After learning the basics of harness racing growing up in the strong harness racing town of Temora, in the NSW Riverina, he left for the city to better himself aged just 18. "My pop Russell Harpley was a hobby trainer and was a big influence, along with Nanna Pam. They are so proud and are now my number one fans," he said. "I also worked full-time for Ray Walker, who is an amazing horseman. So I certainly did get a good head start." Alchin said Tough Monarch, who is chasing his first Group One success, had benefitted greatly by competing in his first Inter Dominion in Melbourne late last year. "I guess I could say the same thing about myself - it certainly was a big learning curve," he said. "So hopefully with two Inters under our belts come Sydney next year, we both should be pretty seasoned," Alchin laughed. Shepparton co-trainers Steve O'Donoghue and Bec Bartley will also compete with their nine-year-old 'war horse' San Carlo at the same meeting in the $750,000 G1 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup at 5.12pm NZ (3.12 pm Australian) time. San Carlo, known around the stables as Murray, has drawn the pole. He comes up against some hot opposition in the Purdon-Rasmussen quartet of Spankem, Thefixer, Chase Auckland and Cruz Bromac. Bathurst pacer Our Uncle Sam (trained by Chris Frisby) will join San Carlo in trying to fly the Australian flag for honors.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

By Jonny Turner A perfect preparation has reigning national horse of the year Spankem ready to tackle a distance far from perfect for him in the New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington on Tuesday. Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have overseen an incredibly faultless lead up to New Zealand’s greatest harness race, with Spankem displaying the speed, stamina and poise of a deserving favourite. The Miracle Mile winner has cruised over every hurdle the champion trainers have put in front of him, speeding to victory in traditional lead up races the Hannon Memorial, Canterbury Classic and Ashburton Flying Stakes. The only question the 5yr-old has not been able to answer in the lead up to the New Zealand Cup is whether he will handle its 3200m distance. Purdon is confident his horse will stay the distance under the pressure environment of a New Zealand Cup. But the master trainer-driver admits it is not the ideal trip for his speed machine. “I wouldn’t think it is his go – he is better over shorter distances,” he said. “But at the same time, he is in a great place and his form suggests he is probably still going to be the one to beat, even though it is not his pet distance.” Spankem’s staying qualities have drawn attention as he has been unplaced in two starts past 2700m. The first of those came when the pacer ran a creditable, but well beaten fourth in last year’s 2760m Interdominion final, won by Tiger Tara. The second came in this year’s 3200m Easter Cup, won by Turn It Up, when the he was first up from a short spell. Whether Spankem or any of the field see out Tuesday’s distance relies heavily on what kind of run and how they are driven. Purdon looks to have limitless options from barrier 6 with his excellent beginner.   The five time New Zealand Cup winning driver would not be drawn in to talking too many tactics, but hinted that taking a trail could help Spankem show his best.  “One thing is that he will follow any speed, it won’t matter how quick they go, he will follow that speed and come out and show his own high speed.” “The way he has been going he is the horse to beat, so I can afford to drive him with some confidence.” The favourite’s stablemate, Thefixer, comes in to the race in a majorly contrasting situation to Spankem.   There are absolutely no queries over his staying prowess, following his tenacious win in the New Zealand Cup last year. That victory came after hoof problems dogged his preparation, which havr also caused his camp grief again this year. Thefixer appears to be ahead of where he was going in to last year’s race – by being able to race in the Ashburton Flying Stakes and Methven Cup. But, Purdon would not go as far as confirming that. However, the trainer was willing to go one step further and suggest Thefixer was a better horse than when he won last year’s edition. “I think he is a stronger horse than he was last year.” “He is a horse that can make his own luck – and he is probably one of the few in the field that could.” “I am really happy with him and I think over the last fortnight he has really tightened up and he is hitting peak fitness.” Purdon has two more horses that can help he can land him an incredible seventh New Zealand Cup training win and a fourth in partnership with Rasmussen. Chase Auckland has stepped up to the big leagues with excellent performances in open company this season. The 5yr-old has shown impressive staying prowess, especially in his strong Methven Cup win. It looks like Chase Auckland will need to call on that strength to win from the unruly starting position on Tuesday. Purdon is confident that is something he can handle “He is very fit and well and he will go a big race.” Cruz Bromac will return to Addington after producing the hard luck story of last year’s New Zealand Cup. The veteran paced roughly at a vital stage, losing momentum that could have put him in the finishing photo beside Thefixer. Cruz Bromac showed he can still put in rough steps when galloping out of commission in the Ashburton Flying Stakes, before producing a better showing for second behind Classie Brigade in the Kaikoura Cup. With manners and some manoeuvring from driver Blair Orange to keep him off the outside of the track – where he tends to pace roughly – he could go a strong race. “He is probably good enough to move up and at some stage and put himself in the race,” Purdon said. “He just can’t be too wide on the last corner.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ