Day At The Track

Junior driver Ellie Barron took luck out of the equation when she took Alpine Retreat straight to the lead in the first trot of the day at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park today (Saturday). She proceeded to open up a good margin on the chasing pack and with a good number of his rivals breaking, Alpine Retreat ended up winning by eleven lengths. The win was a family affair as Grandfather Ron and father Clark (who trains the gelding) share in the ownership. New Zealand’s leading driver Blair Orange made the most of a good draw when he took Yoha straight to the lead in the next race. He was able to dictate all the pace with favourite Renegade Rose on his back. The three year old Terror To Love filly proved too strong, beating Renegade Rose by a length and three quarters with Allaboutjoy running home nicely for third. Orange went back to back when another of the progeny of Terror To Love, Terror The Christian, beat another Canterbury visitor Payment Plan. Terror The Christian                                                                      --photo Bruce Stewart Co-trainer Chris Wilson missed seeing his first winner when Robyns Playboy returned to winning form in the Ultimate Machete at Alabar Handicap Pace. Wilson, who now trains in partnership with his father Ross, was away in Oamaru watching his sons Callum and Riley playing hockey. When Robyns Playboy last started in the Hannon Memorial, it finished seventh. Racing in a lower grade today helped his cause, and brought his wins to a total of seven. Robyns Playboy winning                                                        --photo Bruce Stewart Robbie Royale won his second race in as many weeks when he proved too strong for backmarker Monty Python in the feature trot of the day. The six year old lead for part of the race before handing up to Monty Python with a lap to run. When the field straightened for the run home, driver Brent Barclay came up the inside to beat Monty Python by half a length with the handicap being the difference at the business end of the race. Robbie Royale has now won seven races for Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray. Well known Southland Harness Administrator Peter Burns passed away in Invercargill on Tuesday. Peter Burns was an Accountant by profession and served for many years as Secretary for most of the Southern Clubs. He also spent a long period on the Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand. On the breeding front he was one of the leading lights in promoting the syndication of the successful imported sire Knowing Bret, and he managed the Syndicate’s financial affairs. His late wife Rewa also enjoyed the harness industry as a breeder and owner. The family’s finest homebred racehorse was Haughty Romeo. He was New Zealand’s first three year old pacer to go under two minutes when he ran 1-58.4 in a time trial at Winton. Peter’s funeral will be held on Monday. Bruce Stewart

The locally trained Onesmartfella won the gold when most thought the Nuggets Final at Ascot Park today would go to either of the Canterbury raiders, Willison or Carlos Bromac. In the great front running drive by Nathan Williamson and without too much attention from other runners, the Tintin In America gelding took out the $15,000 final by two and a half lengths from Carlos Bromac, with a head back to favourite Willison. Onesmartfella is trained at Ascot Park by Brent Shirley and is owned by breeder John Edminstin and good mate Tony Whaanga. Onesmartfella is out of the Lis Mara mare Kentucky Girl which won her first race,  but unfortunately broke down and was retired to the broodmare paddock. Onesmartfella which was named by Tony, is the mare’s first foal. “He named it in the Zoo Bar at the Falls Hotel in Mataura,” Shirley said. He said Onesmartfella was small in stature and the stable had to wait on him. “I always knew he had speed but I didn’t know how much bottom he had. We found out last time (when he ran second after been challenged) that he had a bit of bottom.” Shirley isn’t sure where Onesmartfella will start next but said he’ll look out for a Junior Drivers race which will be penalty free. The win was the forty first for Edminstin as an owner. His winners include When The Music’s Over and Rowchester. He’s also part of the BBC Syndicate.                                                                               – Photo Bruce Stewart Earlier in the day Williamson won with Pembrook Playboy who he’d thought would be a run short. But the horse showed good qualities after he lead and easily recorded his first win. “I just thought he might have needed the run but he got away with some easy sectionals in front and that helped.” From barrier five Williamson pushed forward and after 200 metres was in front. “He was pretty green in front – he was running round a bit. He was a bit lazy – but when I asked him to quicken he did.” The winning margin was four and a quarter lengths with outsider Kramer running second. “I think he’ll improve with the run.”                                                                                       – Photo Bruce Stewart Williamson says he’ll target the Nuggets races with the three year old and look at lining up in the Cardrona Distillery/MLT Three Year Old Stakes at Gore at Christmas time, and perhaps the Supremacy later in the season. Later in the day Triroyale Brigade also won for the stable. He capitalised on a nice trail and sprinted too well for junior driver Mark Hurrell to beat Lawrence and Betterthanbrie both of which came home late. Williamson says he’s expecting Triroyale Brigade to have a good season. The winning drive was the second of the day for Hurrell who also won on the Craig Laurenson trained Dismara. Given a great run, Dismara proved too good for thea twelve other runners in the Kubala Seeds Mobile Pace. Placed in the outside running line, Hurrell followed Black Ops forward at the 350 metre mark and came down the middle of the track to win impressively by one and a quarter lengths. It was the mare’s third win in forty five starts. Meanwhile Williamson’s quality trotter Dark Horse made an appearance at the Winton Workouts yesterday racing against the pacers. The Bacardi Lindy mare hasn’t been seen at the race track for nearly two years after sustaining a number of injuries. “She’s come through the run nice and is sound so that’s the main thing. She’ll have another run (workout) somewhere and we’ll access where we go after that,” Williamson said. Dark Horse holds a nomination for the Dominion Handicap.   Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner More questions were raised than answered when Spankem solidified his New Zealand Cup favouritism by winning the Canterbury Classic. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer used his blistering speed to beat the Robert Dunn pairing of Henry Hubert and Classy Brigade in the group 2 Canterbury Classic. Spankem enjoyed a beautiful run in the trail throughout, thanks to some canny driving early in the race from Purdon, which effectively sealed the 5yr-old’s win a long way from home. Henry Hubert showed he was in for a big spring when running a strong second in his first start this term. The 5yr-old was one of just three runners in the event that gave away a race fitness edge to their rivals. Fourth placed Ashley Locaz, who was sound in fourth, was also one of those. Clouds hang over a number of the big names being aimed at New Zealand Cup glory following Friday night’s race. All Stars pacers Chase Auckland and Ultimate Sniper both botched the start of the race and failed to flatter afterwards. After catching the field, the pair made three wides runs on to the pace with a lap to go, before Chase Auckland faded at the 500m. Ultimate Sniper then battled in to fifth placing in the home straight. A G’s White Socks showed much improved barrier manners to pace off the mark for the first time this campaign in Friday night’s race. That was as good as it got for the Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer, who battled in to sixth after making a three wide bid before the home turn. New Zealand Cup aspirant Nandolo also produced a shocker in the event. The John Howe trained outsider galloped early after a hopple shortener problem, before racing fiercely throughout. It was a case of two out of three ain’t bad for the stars in Friday night’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. The winner, Oscar Bonavena, and runner-up, Marcoola, produced brilliant efforts when fighting out a close finish to the group 2 feature. Oscar Bonavena’s star rose again when he staged a huge recovery to win the race after failing to step away from barrier 1. The All Stars trotter settled five lengths off the back of the field, before catching the field and producing a sweeping finish to win. Marcoola was excellent in his first start for the season, going down by just a head. The shock performance of the race came from Sundees Son, who galloped when under pressure in the straight. The Robert Dunn barn enjoyed much better fortunes in the first South Island heat of the Sires Stakes Series. Above N Beyond sprinted quickly off a strong speed to win by two lengths over Skippys Delight. Aqua Sancta held third after sitting parked throughout.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Canterbury 3yr-olds Willison and Carlos Bromac are set for an exciting clash at Ascot Park today. Willison heads south after producing a superb performance in rich company at Addington last week. The Mark Jones-trained pacer settled well off the pace after being checked early in a race filled with quality 3yr-olds. His effort to recover and produce the fastest last 800m and 400m sectionals of the race to run into fourth showed the potential his trainer knew he possessed. "He is a horse we have thought a bit of and he probably disappointed us with his first few runs," Jones said. "But his last two runs have been very good in very good fields." The heavy check Willison copped in his last run does not seem to have bothered the horse - Jones reported he had worked well ahead of his trip south. "He seems good. He is a pretty sensible type of horse and being a Bettor's Delight, he doesn't worry about much." Willison will start from barrier 6 in race 8, two spots inside Carlos Bromac, and has enough gate speed to pinch an early break on his main rival if driver Samantha Ottley chooses that plan. Jones said he would be just as happy if the horse was to settle off the pace again. "He is pretty quick off the gate. We haven't really drawn to use it, but if he wants to roll forward he can, and if he wants to drop back, he can; he is pretty adaptable." Carlos Bromac has impressed by starting his career with a good maiden victory in Invercargill before handling a significant rise in class to win again at Winton last week. He also brings adaptability to today's 2200m feature. The pacer won from the trail on debut before making a midrace move, and won from the parked position in his next run. Bookmakers do not see today's race as a showdown between Willison and Carlos Bromac. They rated Onesmartfella ($3) as the second favourite behind Willison ($1.90) on market opening. Carlos Bromac ($4) was the fourth favourite. Trainer Chris Wilson looks to have the perfect opportunity to score his first win with Robyn's Playboy in race 5. Wilson has produced four placegetters from his 11 starters after joining his father, Ross, in a training partnership recently. The scratching of Sagwitch means the 2700m handicap is Robyns Playboy's for the taking. The 4yr-old produced an excellent second behind Franco Santino at Winton before struggling to foot it with star pacer Spankem in the Hannon Memorial. Today's fast-class trot looks much more open. Picketts Ridge will try to improve on his fair third behind Robbie Royale at Winton. The pair will clash again alongside Imran Khan, Wee Man Trouble and Monty Python.  

By Garrick Knight There was no real hesitation for Merv Butterworth when he made the decision to outlay six figures on exciting colt Copy That back in July. The Melbournian, who races the son of American Ideal with his wife, Meg, took the word of the horse’s trainer and then-owner, Ray Green. “I have a very good relationship with Ray and if he says a horse will make a nice horse, I believe him,” Butterworth told HRNZ post-race. “He calls a spade a spade and is very straightforward with no bullshit. There’s no blinking or going red in the face; just my sort of bloke, really.” And if Copy That’s brilliant win at Auckland on September 20 didn’t tell Butterworth he had made the right call, his win in the first Sires Stakes Series heat for the spring at Cambridge on Thursday night certainly did. “When he won that race at Auckland by seven lengths back in July, that told me he was a bit better than average and he’s proved it with these last two wins. “I thought he was very good tonight, frankly speaking. All he had to be was tuned up and he was going to be hard to beat.” Driver Zachary Butcher reported that Copy That still has a few tricks that need ironing out if he is going to usurp the All Stars army in the $170,000 Final on New Zealand Cup Day at Addington next month. “He said that Copy That still put in a couple of funny ones but when he gave him a ‘flick’ he behaved himself. He’s just a big boof head, really.” Bookies moved Copy That in to a $12 seventh favourite for the final after the win, all six ahead of him in the market being trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. The Butterworths made a special trip to Cambridge for the meeting - where they had three racing - and managed to snare a second victory with promising mare, The Empress. “Everyone that has handled her has said she’s got some star quality – Ray is her third trainer and speaks highly of her. “She’s just gotten better and better with age.” The Butterworths purchased The Empress for $70,000 at the 2017 Melbourne APG sale before shipping her to New Zealand. She did her initial work with Purdon and Rasmussen before shifting to Robin Swain in Southland and, eventually, Green in Auckland. The Empress has now won four races and finds herself a rating 67, meaning her time with Green could be winding down. “If she wins another two races at Auckland, she’ll start to find it very hard,” said Butterworth. “Whether she goes to Melbourne or Perth, I’m not sure just yet, but Perth does cater very well for fillies and mares. We recently won a $30,000 mares’ race over there with another Kiwi, Crystal Sparkles.” The Butterworths will be glued to the television tonight before flying home tomorrow. “We’ve got three racing at Ballarat and another three at Gloucester Park. Rupert Of Lincoln, another one we bought off Ray, is having his first start back for Kerryn Manning.” It was a memorable night for the team at Lincoln Farms with stable worker Andre Poutama also training a double. After failing at her first start for him at Auckland last week, trotting mare Superfast Ninja righted the ship with a tidy win while Runcle clung on doggedly to win after leading. Superfast Ninja is raced by Poutama and Green’s wife, Debbie. Barry Purdon also scored a double, with promising mare Some Do and debutante three-year-old Major Jellis, who overcame and early gallop to get the chocolates in the hands of Scott Phelan. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Volstead’s American owner Dean Miller is offering a very generous first season rebate of $1500 to Down Under Breeders. Mr Miller said that being Volstead’s very first season standing Down Under in the flesh, he was very keen to see that his international champion served a solid book of mares with Fresh Semen. Thanks to Dean’s generosity Down Under  breeders will pay the following for Volstead for this year’s breeding season.                                                                                                                          Australia         New Zealand Advertised Price (Pay by Mar 30)      5000                      5000  First season Rebate                         -1500                     -1500     Rebate  price (exc GST)                    3500                      3500 New Price (GST incl)                      $3850                    $4025   Victorian Square Trotters Association Members and New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Membership discounts still apply. Rebate price                                      3500                     3500 VSTA/NZB (10%)                               -350                      -350       Discount price                                    3150                     3150 GST                                                    10%                      15% VSTA/NZB Price                              $3465                    $3622.50   Multi mare discounts still apply based on 3 or more in-foal mares and would be the following: Reobate price                                   3500                     3500 MM Discount 20%                             -700                      -700       Discount Price                                  2800                     2800 GST                                                  10%                      15% Multi Mare Price                            $3080                     $3220 A Group 1 winner, Volstead, is a 1.51.5 US-bred son of leading sire of sires Cantab Hall, who is standing at Haras des Trotteurs, in Cardigan, Victoria. Volstead and Johnny Takter Volstead seen here winning The Sweden Cup

By Jonny Turner Wins on and off the track mean New Zealand Cup favourite Spankem's perfect spring preparation is set to continue at Addington tonight. The Miracle Mile winner will start a short-priced favourite alongside three of his All Stars stablemates in the group 2 Canterbury Classic. Away from the track, Spankem's path to New Zealand Cup victory got a lot easier this week after his main rival, Tiger Tara, was withdrawn from the race. The horse's fortunes got even better when he secured a perfect barrier 3 draw in tonight's standing start. Spankem's good fortunes continued on the track when he worked well at Purdon and Rasmussen's stable this week, as he has done all spring. Purdon confirmed the 5yr-old has improved his fitness levels since his emphatic Hannon Memorial win. And in terrible news for his opponents, there is still plenty more to come. "He is still doing very, very well and is working well, but I think a couple more runs will help him." Returning 5yr-old Ashley Locaz will be given a tough introduction to open class racing when clashing with Spankem and his fellow stablemates Chase Auckland and Ultimate Sniper. Purdon is expecting the horse to measure up in the open class ranks when at full fitness. "He has got to put his hand up and prove it, but I think the way he feels in his work coming back - he feels nice and strong and he feels like he will take the step into open company. "He has come back good, he has had a couple of trials in moderate company." "Whatever he does on Friday he will improve on." Chase Auckland looks the main danger to Spankem following his excellent Hannon Memorial run. The 5yr-old, who has already made a successful transition to open class in just two starts, powered home for fourth after galloping with a lap to go. Chase Auckland was rated a $7.50 third-favourite behind Spankem ($1.35) and Ultimate Sniper ($6). Ultimate Sniper has been sound, but not spectacular, in two new season runs. The horse has looked in need of racing to return to the electric form he showed last season, which Purdon confirmed. "He was off the scene for the longest time of our runners, and being a stallion he is carrying a bit more condition." "The first two runs have done him the world of good." A G's White Socks was rated the hardest horse for the All Stars pacer to beat when he opened at $15. The 6yr-old galloped away from the standing start for the third consecutive time in last month's Hannon Memorial. Though the Greg and Nina Hope-trained pacer is clearly up to pushing the favourites, he will not be able to do so if he botches the start again tonight. In the Canterbury Classic, New Zealand Cup aspirant Henry Hubert starts for the first time this season. The Robert Dunn-trained 5yr-old has had three prep runs to be readied for his resumption. Henry Hubert ran in a soft trial and workout before looking good when winning a subsequent trial at Rangiora last week. Dunn has a two-pronged attack on the Canterbury Classic, with Classie Brigade also entered. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Clint Ford is preparing to fight youth with youth in tonight's $30,000 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington. And that means giving up the hot seat behind enigmatic trotter Marcoola. Last season's Dominion winner resumes in tonight's 2600m standing start but finds himself having been replaced as our best trotter by Sundees Son and maybe even Oscar Bonavena. Both have been sensational and near faultless in their two starts this season, with Oscar Bonavena the favourite tonight as he gets a 20m start over Marcoola and Sundees Son. That would suggest if he can lead and get his own way, he should trot the last 800m in a time that would make him incredibly hard to get past. But as good as Sundees Son is and Oscar Bonavena may be, the best version of Marcoola as just as potent, with his Dominion win last season a thing of raw power rarely seen in our best trotting races in the last decade. He was driven that day by part-owner Clint Ford, who unofficially shares the training with his family under father Ken Ford's name. But Clint says it is time to give the reins on Marcoola to his niece Sheree Tomlinson so she will drive the muscular stallion tonight. "Sheree is a good driver, better than me, so the time was right for her to take over," he says. "I haven't driven in a race for about six months and am not out there enough to do the horse justice. So I'm happy for Sheree to jump on." The swap isn't just Ford keeping it in the family as Tomlinson is a genuine talent who steered Amaretto Sun to a massive upset win in the Dominion two years ago but due to a change of employment she is not getting the quality of drives she deserves at the moment. Even with a bright young star in the sulky Marcoola is up against it tonight, giving away a big edge in race fitness to both the favourites. The make up of the field, with only four on the front line, suggests if Oscar Bonavena behaves he will lead easily and it is hard to imagine too many attackers. He did bobble away at Oamaru last start but quickly came down trotting, always a good sign for a young trotter as it shows they would rather trot than not. If Oscar Bonavena does lead then driver John Dunn's tactics on Sundees Son will be crucial. The five-year-old is explosive and our trotting top dog but as good as he is he will need to do something special to sit parked outside Oscar Bonavena and beat him. While the open class trot has plenty of moving parts, the $50,000 Canterbury Classic for the pacers might come down to one simple factor. Because if Spankem steps away well enough to lead, or even on par with the field, he should win. The newly crowned Horse of the Year has looked even stronger this season and paced a 53.3 last 800m to win untouched when he led and beat most of those he meets tonight in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru 12 days ago. In front he is almost unbeatable and it is hard to imagine many of his rivals would try to park him tonight so unless he misses away, and his manners have been solid so far this season, he should win.   Michael Guerin

Addington in association with co-sponsor Airpark Canterbury are excited to announce all individual owners will receive an owners pass to thank and acknowledge them for their ongoing support.   The Airpark Canterbury & Addington Owners Pass will provide all registered owners a complimentary drink (one house beer, house wine or soft drink) redeemable from any public bar open on course at all NZMTC Race Meetings apart from Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day.   This pass will also enable owners to access the IRT Stables.   “It is really important for Addington to thank our customers on an ongoing basis. Our owners are vital to our industry and it is one thing I wanted to introduce this year as a sign of Addington’s appreciation. It’s fantastic that Airpark Canterbury, one of our long term and loyal sponsors have partnered with us to thank our owners” says Chief Executive Officer, Brian Thompson.   Thompson continued to say “It is really easy to obtain an Airpark Canterbury & Addington Owners Pass. Owners just need to start a horse at a NZMTC race meeting from 4th October 2019. The passes will be available to collect at our race day administration desk on the ground floor foyer of the Metropolitan Stand. After collecting their owners pass, a complimentary drink is available to all owners, irrespective of whether their horse is racing or not.”   Graeme Harris, Managing Director of Airpark Canterbury is delighted to be co-sponsoring the owners pass.   “I thought this was a great idea of Addington’s. Being an owner myself, I saw the value straight away and wanted to support Addington with this. I also wanted to thank our owners as they are extremely supportive of me and my team by parking their cars at Airpark Canterbury.”   It is important to note the owners pass can be used at all NZMTC race meetings, including the Show Day Races, however, due to the complex nature of the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day, this pass is unable to be used on this day.   For full terms and conditions about the new Airpark Canterbury & Addington Owners Pass, please visit: https://www.addington.co.nz/racing/airpark-canterbury-addington-owners-pass/   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

The first harness racing rankings for the IRT Inter Dominion 2019 are now available from here   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

By Jonny Turner  Marcoola will take his first race day step towards defending his title Dominion title with a new face in the sulky behind him. Leading junior driver Sheree Tomlinson will steer the 7yr-old in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington on Friday night. Marcoola’s part-owner and regular driver, Clint Ford, has stepped aside to give his niece the opportunity to drive the trotter, this week. What happens in future races leading up to the Dominion has not been decided and it could hinge on the form of the horse’s stablemate and fellow Dominion winner, Amaretto Sun. “Nothing is set in stone at the moment,” Tomlinson said. “Amaretto Sun is not racing this week, so, we will just have to see how Friday night pans out and see what Clint’s plans are and go from there.” Marcoola has made two public appearances ahead of his resumption. The Ken Ford trained trotter won a sedate workout at Ashburton, before returning to the same track, last week, to run second behind race rival, Didjabringthebeers, in a faster trial.  Both efforts have pleased the Ford camp. “Clint’s been happy enough with both of the workouts and trials,” Tomlinson said.  “They really run that last half quick at Ashburton, last week, and he did throw a shoe halfway up the straight.” “Its different on race day, fitness wise, but he looks good and he’s feeling well, too.” Marcoola faces a tough test, returning against race hardened trotting stars Oscar Bonavena and Sundees Sun. Tomlinson is hopeful her charge can go a good race, despite giving away that fitness edge. “It is a very nice field and there are some horses in there that have had a few races under their belt.” “He is quite a naturally fit horse and he has gone quite a few good races fresh.” “On his A-game he can go a very nice race.” Trotting fans get the clash they have been waiting for when Oscar Bonvena and Sundees Son go head to head for the first time in Friday night’s feature. Oscar Bonvena must step from his barrier 1 draw to take down his main rival. That would usually be a tricky task for a horse that has bounded away from his past two standing starts. But, because there are just two horses on the front line, the rising star should not have few excuses for making mistakes. And his driver Mark Purdon is confident he can step away cleanly. “He is a lot more mature this time around and I would be surprised if he botched it.” “He has probably bounded away in both starts, but he has caught the trot very quickly.” Sundees Sun, who has been brilliant in his two starts for the season, has a standing start challenge of his own in Friday night’s race. The Robert Dunn trained trotter will start away from the unruly for the first time of his career in the event. Sundees Son and Marcoola will both give Oscar Bonavena a head start from the 20m mark.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Turn It Up! The Punter’s Podcast has the Canterbury Classic, Canterbury Park Trotting Cup and two exciting Sires Stakes heats covered in this week's edition. Host Jonny Turner is joined by Mark Purdon, who discussees his four pronged attack on the Canterbury Classic at Addington on Friday night with Spankem, Chase Auckland, Ultimate Sniper and Ashley Locaz. The master trainer also updates listeners on the three classy 3yr-olds - Italian Lad, Aqua Sancta and Virgil - he and training partner, Natalie Rasmussen, have in the first South Island heat of the Sires Stakes series.   Purdon also gives a progress report on his star trotter Oscar Bonavena, ahead of his clash with Sundees Son in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. Marcoola has his first start of the season in trotting feature and he will have a new driver. Sheree Tomlinson joins Turn It Up! The Punter’s Podcast to discuess her first drive behind the reigning Dominion winner. Trainer Ray Green returns to the show to talk over the chances of his smart 3yr-olds, Line Up and Copy That, ahead of the 3yr-old Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night. Trainer Mark Jones updates listeners on his eye-catching 3yr-old Wilison, who starts at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting on Saturday.   Listen to Turn It Up! The Punter’s Podcast on Facebook here:  Listen on Spotify here:  Listen on SoundCloud here:  Listen on iTunes here: 

By Garrick Knight There are plenty of questions to be answered heading in to tonight’s $22,000 Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge. Local colt Eagle Watch is fresh-up since contesting the Jewels at Addington back in early June but faces the high-calibre Ray Green-trained pair of Copy That and Line Up, and the Robert Dunn’s impressive Mighty Looee. But one, if not both, of Green’s duo have question marks hanging over them and it would be reasonable to think that Eagle Watch could be the benefactor from a preferable gate. But co-trainer Matty White says his horse, too, is not at 100 percent ahead of this crucial race, so punter’s should exercise caution. “The only time I’ve been really happy with any of his three workouts was the last one (last Saturday at Cambridge). “He might just need a bit of racing to get to his peak and I wonder whether a couple of those he faces this week might have the fitness edge on him. “I’m happy enough with him going in to it though and he came through that last workout well.” White says he “would like to think” Eagle Watch can find the markers and trail one of the race’s three favourites, which would set him up nicely for a cosy trip. “He hasn’t got blistering gate speed and he’s never really drawn well enough to be used early, so we will learn a lot more this week.” Line Up, who has a big reputation within the Lincoln Farms camp, has been struggling with the effects of a foot abscess, which burst out of his foot last Wednesday and is believed to be the reason behind his defeat after pacing rough when last produced a fortnight ago. “It could have been brewing for a month and would certainly explain way he galloped out of the gate the other night and put in those funny steps,” Green said on the stable’s website. Green noted yesterday that Line Up had shown vast improvement in the past seven days, but the fact remained he had missed some work. “It’s impossible to say how far down on his best he’ll be but obviously he could be going into the race better.” Copy That, who has herculean when winning at Alexandra Park last time, subsequently won a workout impressively on his home track in Pukekohe last Saturday. But he has shown repeatedly, in both workouts and races, that he has deficiencies in his gait, especially on bends at high speed, and will need a faultless display this time to beat some high-quality opponents. The other leading chance is Mighty Looee, who turned heads with a last-to-first win on September 13, but that was a significantly weaker field than he faces tonight. Bookies opened Copy That a $2.30 favourite, with Mighty Looee and Line Up on the second line at $3.20 while Eagle Watch was on the third line at $16 alongside Cloud Break. White and training partner Mike Berger take three others to the races tonight and he felt the big boy, All Yours, was the stable’s best chance, in a 2700-metre junior drivers’ race. “He’s just so honest and has been running good sectionals lately. “We were a little disappointed last time but he came up with a bruised heel afterwards and that’s behind him now. “He’s quite versatile and the longer trip will definitely suit.” White also gave a lead towards maiden trotter Presidential Jewel in the first race, who he pilots for Roger Villiger. “I quite like her and wouldn’t think she’ll stay a maiden for long. “She’s lovely gaited and the 2700 will suit her as well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Haras des Trotteurs new resident sire Volstead is off to a flying start with the first three harness racing mares that he served all getting in foal on first insemination. And fitting for an international group winner, his first consorts also included an international mare and a group winner, in French mare Dream Island and Group winner Arboe. The other mare Ornee is an unraced daughter of Ready Cash, and the trio are among a dozen of Yabby Dam Farms best mares who will visit his court this breeding season. Volstead, a 1.51.5 son of Cantab Hall, is available throughout Australia and New Zealand in fresh semen form. Volstead is the first son of Cantab Hall to be available as a fresh semen option in the Southern Hemisphere. Cantab Hall has become an outstanding sire of sires with his outstanding son Father Patrick making a huge impression this year as sire of the top rated three-year-old, Greenshoe who trotted in sub 1:50 this last week at the Red Mile and became a millionaire in the process. A full-brother to Greenshoe sold today at Lexington for US$1,100,000 the first ever standardbred yearling to make over $1 million at Auction. An outstanding competitor in Sweden’s elite gold division Volstead raced out of the top Swedish barn of Stefan Melander and won 5.87M SEK from 23 of his 72 race starts including the Group 1 King’s Cup and the prestigious Sweden Cup, or Little Elitlopp, in 2017.

Last Friday night at Addington Raceway saw history made for the sport of harness racing, with the running of the world’s first ever E-Sport Harness Racing Championship. In a joint venture to attract new fans to the sport, Harness Racing New Zealand, Addington Raceway and the Catch Driver team in Canada launched the oncourse championship which saw players compete via their phone, whilst the races played out live in real time on the big screen. Three heats of nine players were held on the Lanson Lawn in front of the big screen, with the top three finishers advancing to the Grand Final later on the night. The heats saw a great mix of first time players, young industry participants and trainers and drivers from the harness racing industry and were kindly called live from the birdcage by commentator Matt Cross. After some friendly rivalry in the heats the Grand Final field consisted of:  Matty Williamson, Jayden Wyke, Matt Purvis, Luke Sutherland, Ashleigh Stewart, Gavin Smith, Hayley Clarke, Jack Ryder and Paul Hailes. The winner of the Grand Final was Matty Williamson, who received a trip for two to Mooloolaba staying at the Peninsular Beachfront Resort for three nights thanks to Addington Raceway, with $1000 towards travel courtesy of Westview Racing.  Jayden Wyke was second, and won two Lindauer Lawn tickets for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup Day and Matt Purvis finished third gaining 2,500 Catch Driver game horse shoes for his effort. Matty Williamson is a regular player of the Catch Driver game, and the win went down well with his fiancé Charlotte Purvis who learned of the victory whilst watching the live video via the HRNZ Facebook page from home. “I was really excited to win and I knew Charlotte would be even more excited,” laughed Williamson. “It’s a great game and is very realistic. It’s great for racing fans, but it’s also a great game to try and get new people hooked on harness racing.” “I’ll definitely be playing in another Championship again, even if it puts my good record at stake,” Williamson joked. CEO of Addington Raceway, Brian Thompson, was also thrilled with the way the Championship was received by participants and onlookers. “We were so happy to be a part of history, and for Addington to be the host of the world’s first ever E-Sport harness racing event,” said Thompson. “To be able to give people an opportunity to experience harness racing like never before with Catch Driver is one thing, but it’s also great to be able to offer race goers some fun events to take part in on race night as well.” “We look forward to holding more events like this in future, and also having Catch Driver events for everyone oncourse to enjoy on race nights going forward.” Despite the Championship taking place in the early hours of the morning, Ryan Clements and Landon Mulhall of The Farm Ventures (creators of Catch Driver) were following the event with keen interest. “It was very exciting for us and we were thrilled to do it with Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway,” said Clements. “When I first visited there a year ago we knew right away that the industry was really forward looking and looking to do more to be innovative. We knew that we would have a great partnership to be able to try new things and take things to the next level.” “Our team worked really hard to transfer the data from the game to be able to replicate a live race on the big screen as a game was in progress. It was a challenge but it was really rewarding to see it work so well last Friday. “That was just the first version of the viewer and we can’t wait to keep making improvements and make the coverage even better.” Clements and his team aren’t slowing down either, with plans new well in progress to launch a Catch Driver virtual reality experience at racetracks around the world. If you would like to be a part of the Catch Driver E-Sport experience, simply attend any Addington Raceway meeting and keep an eye on the big screen for the night’s race code for the unique game event. You’ll be able to play live against other players oncourse, with the race playing out on the big screen. To download Catch Driver visit http://onelink.to/p9zknf   HRNZ

TAB News Pick6 this week - $25K Pick Six Cambridge Thursday. $25K Pick Six at Addington Friday. Bonus Quaddies $10,000 Bonus into the nominated Late Quaddie Friday evening $10,000 Bonus into the nominated Late Quaddie Sunday afternoon   Harness Racing Waikato – Thursday 3 October In 2 weeks' time, we’re putting on not 1, but 2 top-notch events on the same night. The only problem you’ll have is choosing which one to attend! Whether you want to drink beer with your buddies, or socialise under the lights - on 18th October, Cambridge Raceway is the place to be. There'll be German style feasts, live DJs, thrilling racing action, and much, much more. Check out our website now to find out more, and choose the night that suits you best. https://www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz/ See you there!    Addington Raceway and Events Centre – Friday 4 October Hello Everyone, We have exciting racing ahead this week with the Road to the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and the Road to the Airpark Canterbury Dominion Trot races continuing! The Lamb & Hayward Canterbury Classic and Canterbury Print Service Canterbury Park Trotting Cup are not to be missed.  Watch this space.  Good luck everyone. Under 50 days til Addington Cup Week starts!  Let’s get excited!  Be sure to purchase your ticket sooner rather than later, as limited tickets available.  CHRISTCHURCH CASINO NZ TROTTING CUP DAY – TICKETS SELLING FAST …. LIMITED OPTIONS REMAIN - Corporate Hospitality  - only Monte Carlo Marquee, Emmerson’s Village and Monkey King Marquees are available!  Get in quick!  Call the lovely Joanne McMaster on 021 0298 5972 or email her on joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz to book your spot.  We look forward to hosting you all! LIMITED SEATS LEFT TAB Trackside Retreat -  For the ultimate betting experience with friends or colleagues there is no better place to view all the top racing action.  TAB Trackside Retreat is positioned in a reserved area in The Edge Public Village directly in line with the 75m mark.  It has easy access to a private viewing area and direct views to the large screen.  LIMITED SEATS LEFT Reserved Seating Tickets – only $65 per person + booking fee - A reserved seat offers prime viewing to capture all the entertainment and thrilling racing action.  Anyone booking a reserved ticket is able to access everything that is available in the General Admission area!  GENERAL ADMISSION – MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR EARLY BIRD PRICE!! You will be right in the heart of the action to view all races on the trackside grassed area or via big screens.  Venture into The Edge Public Village to have an epic experience in The Edge Activation Garden.  Thanks to The Edge, there will also be a phone charging station to keep you up to date with your betting. The cutting-edge fashion heats and semi-finals of The Crossing Fashion Starts Here Best Dressed Competition are now open and will be held in The Edge Public Village.  If you wish to become fashion royalty of the year and to be in to win thousands of dollars in prizes, make sure you enter this elite event.  2019 General Admission Ticket Prices: Earlybird (2 September to 31 October) – $25 per person + booking fee Standard (1 to 12 November) – $35 per person + booking fee At the gate (12 November) – $45 per person (cash only) LINDAUER LAWN – PURCHASE TO ENSURE YOU GET A FREE DRIK ON ARRIVAL AND A GLAM GIFT – SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION!! You will be making a beeline to the sought after revamped Lindauer Lawn to watch spectacular racing, fashion finals and presentations from the lawn, or via an elevated view from the rooftop. For the first time, Lindauer are giving the first 100 people on course an elaborate glam gift.  Prior to entering the Lindauer Lawn be sure to stop, a complimentary Lindauer will be served to the first 1,000 stylish and racing ready people! 2019 Lindauer Lawn Ticket Price: Lindauer Lawn (available 2 September until sold out) – $75 per person + booking fee #letscelebrate #nzcup19 SHOW DAY RACES – is truly a fun cost-effective day out for everyone! SPECTATORS BAR & BISTRO - A seat in Spectators to watch all the racing action on TV’s or via the exclusive outdoor area to the Lindauer Lawn.  You’ll have the opportunity to order one of Spectators famous pizzas amongst other delicious treats, snacks and refreshments off the menu. Yay – children aged 14 years and under are FREE.  Be sure to get in quick as numbers are limited.  Spectators will be open to everyone after the last race. 2019 Spectators Bar & Bistro Ticket Prices: Adult (available 2 Sept until sold out) – $30 per person + booking fee Children (aged 14 years and under) – Free (limited tickets) There will be no public surcharges, and entry will be by gold coin donation to Maia Health Foundation.   Racing highlights of the day are the Woodlands NZ Free-For-All and the Airpark Canterbury Dominion Trot.  The NZ Kidz Kartz Final is definitely a crowd pleaser for all ages. This year we will have again having a FREE kids’ entertainment zone, home to many exciting activities for all ages including, for the first time a FREE petting zoo. There are numerous public areas available with your gold coin entry including the Lindauer and Blanc de Blanc Lawns, Twiggers and the Christian Cullen Lounge where tasty Kiwi treats and refreshments will be available. #letscelebrate #showdayraces Have a great week everyone.  We look forward to hosting you soon!   Northern Southland TC – Sunday 6 October GREAT PRIZES AT NORTHERN SOUTHLAND TROTTING MEETING  The Northern Southland Trotting Club never fail to come up with some great reasons to attend their events and their opening meeting of the season at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Saturday 5 October is no exception. Simply by putting your losing tote tickets in the barrels around the course with your name and contact details on the back two people will be drawn to win flights to Stewart Island courtesy of Stewart Island Flights. The draws will be made just before the last race of the day and will be repeated at every one of the clubs meetings throughout the season (9 January and 7 March as well as the opener on 5 October). That means six people will win flights to the island during the season. But wait there’s more as the television advertisements often tell us. The club will also be running auctions on course during the day for a great variety of items including …a car. A 1996 Mazda Demio Hatchback has been donated by Tom Kilkelly of Regent Car Court and will be one of the fantastic items up for grabs on the day. It is a fantastic opportunity. Of course, there will be plenty of great racing with the first race scheduled for 12.20pm. Owners can head to the Alabar Owners Room on the first floor where they can enjoy hospitality throughout the day while an Owners Prize draw will culminate with the announcement of one of the three prizewinners who will take one of three season prizes – first a trip for two people to the Rowe Cup in Auckland in 2020 with accommodation, rental car and a tour of Alabar Stud courtesy of House Of Travel Lakers and Alabar, second an afternoon hosted at Macca Lodge followed by an evening meal and accommodation in the motel at the Waikaia Hotel and third one night accommodation at the Ascot Park Hotel courtesy of the ILT which will be decided at the end of the season. Access to the Top of the Park costs just $40 for a great day of hospitality. Already days before the meeting two members, Ross McKee and John Edminstin, and two sponsors, G J Gardner Homes and Regent Car Court, have won betting vouchers to use on the day. Course admission on the day is free.   Alexandra Park News Pasifika at the Races with your chance to WIN the ULTIMATE tropical break away!  |  Friday 11 October from 5.30pm Join us for Pasifika at the Races! Enjoy harness racing action, complemented by a Polynesian/Euro fusion all-you-can-eat buffet and cultural performances to entertain! Last but not leaset, we have the ULTIMATE tropical break away up for grabs! Book your tickets and be in to WIN return flights to Niue including SEVEN nights twin share accommodation at Scenic Matavai Resort Niue! Prize will be drawn on the night. Terms and Conditions apply. Save time, book online https://www.alexandrapark.co.nz/whats-on/pasifika-at-the-races/ Alexandra Park Christmas at the Races  |  November & December Plan the perfect Christmas Party to celebrate the end of the year with Alexandra Park Christmas at the Races. Enjoy a delicious Christmas buffet surrounded by colleagues, friends and family. We’ve got premier harness racing action featuring the IRT Inter Dominion Championship and live entertainment after the last race. Don’t delay as this is our busiest time of year, head to alexandrapark.co.nz to get your tickets! IRT Inter Dominion Championship Series  |  November & December Witness the ultimate test of equine speed and strength at this years’ IRT Inter Dominion Championship Series at Alexandra Park throughout November and December. Start with the Welcome Cocktail Party being held at the Rydges Rooftop Terrace on Thursday 28th November. Then get absolutely engulfed in harness racing action with the IRT ID19 heats (29th November, 3rd December, 6th December). Don’t miss the Barrier Draw Brunch at The Alex Bar & Eatery on Sunday 8th December to get you amped up for the GRAND FINAL on Saturday 14th December where you’ll see the best of the best go head to head to take out the championship! Keen to find out more information? Go to www.id19.co.nz   Riverton Trotting Club – 20 October FANTASTIC DAY PLANNED BY RIVERTON TROTTING CLUB  The Riverton Trotting Club have a fantastic day planned when they hold their annual race meeting at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Sunday 20 October. The club is repeating one of their successful promotions from past years – an Owner For A Day Competition, a chance to become an “owner” of a horse selected to run for you in a race on the card. People can enter via the More FM facebook page and the winner will receive a fantastic day out which includes a ride in a dual sulky behind a standardbred horse, a ride in the EH Ball ITM Mobile Barrier, hospitality in the Presidents Room on course, a meet, greet and photo with ‘their’ horse and trainer prior to the horse racing, a $75 bet on ‘their’ horse plus a meal voucher to dine at the Ascot Park Hotel after the race. The Invercargill Working Men’s Club will be on course for their annual Betting Competition, always a popular feature of the meeting each year.  Riverton Trotting Club members are invited to enjoy the day in the Members Lounge at the Top Of The Park. The owners of each race winner on the day will receive a special gift basket as well as well as hospitality in the Presidents Room where delicacies such as crayfish will be on the menu while sponsors will be offered dual sulky rides. The fastest mile rate recorded by a pacer and trotter on the day will net the connections of each a special Feed For Speed award supported by McMillan Equine Feeds while the best senior and junior driver on the day plus the best trainer will all receive prizes. Feature races of the day include the DT Kings Transport Riverton Cup, the Neville Cleaver Fishing Aparima Trot and the Bill Keast Memorial Trot with trophies for each and dress rugs for the Cup and Trot. Owners of some of the best Southland standardbreds at the moment will be invited to trial at this meeting should they not be entered in a race on the day – an opportunity for Southlanders to see some of our best. Ten races are scheduled from 12 noon and admission to the course is free.   Cheviot Harness Racing Club – Stallion Tenders The Cheviot Harness Racing Club has two stallion tenders on offer. DOWNBYTHESEASIDE – a son of Somebeachsomewhere Equal fastest 2yo in Standardbred history, paced 1.49 - Breeders Crown Final 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $6,000+GST. PEGASUS SPUR – sire of Speeding Spur Sire of Speeding Spur – now competing at the highest level in the USA Sire of Paramount Gee Gee 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $3,000+GST. Tenders close 14 October, please send all tenders before then to kirsten_mcnabb@yahoo.co.nz   Kaikoura Trotting Club – November 3 and 4 The Kaikoura Trotting Club is already preparing for the annual two day meeting at South Bay Racecourse to be held this year on Sunday November 3 and Monday November 4. Working bees are underway, and the club are calling for trainers to please contact them in advance to arrange horse accommodation and assistance with any accommodation for trainers/drivers and owners. Minimum stake on Day One’s twilight meeting is $8,000, with other races with stakes of $10,000 and $12,000. On Alabar Kaikoura Cup Day on Monday the minimum stake is $10,000. If anyone has any questions or wants to book their accommodation for horses please contact the club directly or Grant Anderson on 027 450 5468 Kaikoura TC Stallion Tenders Thanks to ALABAR NZ, the Kaikoura Trotting Club is pleased to be able to offer the following stallions for tender: One service to Art Major (valued at $14,000) One service to Majestic Son (valued at $5,000) Tenders close at 5pm on Wednesday, 25 September 2019 For enquiries and copy of Tender Form please contact Geraldine Stanbury 021 351 615 or email on ger.stanbury@xtra.co.nz   HRNZ Marketing