Day At The Track

The fourth annual Hilux Rural Games were held in Palmerston North last weekend, and included the second annual running of the Harness Racing New Zealand Harness Gearing Up Competition. A field of six competitors, including last year’s winner Jay Abernethy, went head to head in time trials to find the two fastest qualifiers to make the final on the day, with the finalists being Dylan Ferguson and Kyle Marshall. The contest was to gear up a pacer with basic harness minus the sulky, and Ferguson managed a narrow victory over Marshall clocking in at 2m50s. Marshall was second and Jay Abernethy was third. Thanks also to the other competitors Jo Stevens, Allen Pyers and Ken Tarrant. Ferguson was presented with the trophy, the Cranbourne Cup trophy won by Blossom Lady during her illustrious career, along with prizes presented by Toyota’s General Manager of Marketing, Andrew Harris. During the afternoon members of the public were invited to have a go at gearing up a harness horse under the watchful eye of our horsemen and provided a great hands on memory to a captive audience. The contest was keenly followed by a strong crowd of Palmerston North locals and also tourists who flocked to see horses at the games. All Black great Sir Brian Lochore was also present to witness the final, admitting he was a keen follower of the racing industry and enjoyed following harness racing. He was able to spend time with the competitors following the event. A huge thanks must go to the Manawatu Harness Racing Club team of John Doody, Allen Pyers and Dan Lynch for the organization of the competition and running of the event with Andre Neill. The event provided the perfect entrée leading in to the Palmerston North Gold Cup Festival to be held at the end of this month. HRNZ Marketing

Driven by Tim Williams, More The Better, the winner of twelve races and over $500,000 proved to be too strong in the Group Three Yardhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup. Owned by co-trainer Mark Purdon, his father Roy Purdon MBE and David Levene OBE, the four year old entire was having his first start for the season. “His three year old season wasn’t as good as we'd hoped. He was a fanastic two year old. He seems to have come back just as good as he was at two. We’ve been happy with his trials and we were very confident today,” said stable manager for the Purdon/Rasmussen stable Michelle Neilson. Neilson says as a young horse he raced over the shorter sprint distances but his forte is staying races. “Our next aim is the Easter Cup at the end of the month at Addington. He’s a strong horse so it’s nice to slow him down a bit. They race a bit over short trips as young horses so the distance won’t be any worries for him now.” After beginning well from the twenty metre mark Williams settled More The Better in seventh place as the field settled into single file. With 1200 metres to run he decided to move around the field and for the last lap he sat parked beside leader My Wee Man. Inside the last 400 metres these two runners cut away from the field and were both in for the fight. But More The Better proved too good.  Williams had only to run the reins over his rump to win by three and a half lengths from a late charging Buster Brady. A brave My Wee Man was a nose back in third. “He’s got great manners and he won today with the plugs still in.” This is the second time Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have won the Northern Southland Cup. They won with Isaiah in 2015. His time of 3-20.1 is a race record. The winning time today was 3-22.6.  Sponsor Dave McHugh, his wife Glenda, and Michelle Neilson  - Photo Bruce Stewart.  More The Better is out of the In The Pocket mare Lucky Pocket which is a full sister to Christian Cullen. The win by More The Better caps off a very profitable two days for the Purdon/Rasmussen All Stars stables. They starters thirteen runs at two race meeting (Auckland and Invercargill) winning eight races and stakes of $347,900. Driver Tim Williams scored three wins at the Northern Southland meeting and one in Auckland.  Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing    

Dean Hunter has only been living in Canterbury for the last month having relocated to the garden city from Blenheim and today's win by Destiny Jones in the Pryde's Easifeeds Southern Lights was his first from his new barn at Russley. In today's trotting feature The Pres mare beat a nice field of squaregaiters, improving on her last start second to quality trotter Bordeax at Addington last week. Hunter has trained Destiny Jones for most of her career but good friend Kevin Townley has also had a stint at training her. “Kevin and I are very good friends and I’ve learnt most of my stuff from him.”  Hunter says Destiny Jones career hasn't been without drama.  “We’ve had our problems with her so it’s nice to have her back. She's had a wee nose bleed because she’s been popping blood vessels in her nose. It looks worse than it is. It isn’t happening further down but we’ve had to scratch her a few times. Hopefully we're on top of it now.” The hot pace set primarily by Splash Cola suited Destiny Jones and driver Blair Orange. With a lap to run they got a drag into the race when Sundons Wish improved. Just before straightening Orange hooked the six year old mare out and she came three wide to make her claim. She trotted nicely to the line beating a late run from Harriet Of Mot. The winning margin was one and a half lengths with another head back to Jen Jaccka. Destiny Jones trotting out to win the Southern Light - Photo Bruce Stewart. The winning time of 3-27.2 was just outside Dark Horse's track record of 3-26.7 but the time is a new race record as this was the first time the Southern Lights has been run over 2700 metres.  Hunter has held a trainers licence since 1988. He's trained twenty nine winners - twenty three of those being trotters. Other good trotters he's had in his stable have been Mo Hahn (by Earl) which won five races and Avon Develd (Gee Whiz II) which also won five. He also trains Dolly Jones a half-sister to Destiny Jones by Monkey Bones which ran third at Westport yesterday.    Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing    

The royally bred Luby Lou trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen won the first ever Southland Trotting Oaks at Ascot Park today. The race was sponsored by Haras des Trotteurs. “She trotted pretty fluently and was happy, so that was the main thing. I’ve driven her in three of her trials this preparation so I’ve had a bit to do with her, that always helps. Marks done a super job with her,” said winning driver Tim Williams. By Muscle Hill, the three year old filly is raced by Breckon Farms - Six of the Best Syndicate. She's the first foal out of the Andover Hall mare Luby Ann which won four races from eighteen starts for Mark Purdon. In one of her wins she beat the mighty Stent at Ashburton. Tim Williams talking to Trackside presenter Jason Teaz, Stable Manager Michelle Neilson, Northern Southland President Bill McDonald and Dave Sanders from Haras des Trotteurs  - Photo Bruce Stewart.    In today's trotting features for three year old fillies, Williams took Luby Lou straight to the top with favourite Renezmae hard on his back. At the end of the 2200 metres only five runners were in with a show of winning and Luby Lou proved too dominant beating Renezmae by a length and a quarter.  “She was happy in front and she’s got a bit of quality.” The winning time of 2-47.9 was a new track record. The previous record of 2-50.2 was jointly held by Kumbya (2006) and Avenge (2001). Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing    

At the start of the season Branxholme harness racing trainer Alister Black rated Kilowatt Kid as his best three year old. But  that was before Lawrence started to hit his straps and looked to have an advantage over his stablemate. However Kilowatt Kid has made a bit of a comeback in recent weeks and today's win in the Caduceus Club of Southland Super Nuggets Final has swayed Black's opinion again. “I don’t know what to put it down to really. I gave him a freshen and I've always thought he goes well fresh. Today he was like that and raced accordingly,” he said. The American Ideal gelding's form has been impeccable this season. He's won three of his eight starts and Black knew during the week that he was in tune for today's feature. “His work on Thursday was nothing short of superb. I woke him up a bit, saying come on son, it’s time to be a race horse.” Black, like all trainers, gets to know his horses and he's discovered how Kilowatt Kid best operates. "I’ve looked after him all the way through because I’ve really really liked him. Maybe I was being a wee bit soft on him.” Kilowatt Kid is owned by Ian and Lindsay Thomson both of whom have been great supporters of the young Branxholme trainer. “Without them I wouldn't be here. Ian and Lindsay have been so good to me. Words can’t describe it. What they’ve put into the game - I hope they get a good horse one day and I hope I’m around to see it and train it.” In today's final driver Blair Orange had Kilowatt Kid in the outside running line. With a lap to run stablemate Lawrence was putting pressure on the leader as well as on the favourite, The Bus. At the 600 Orange improved the gelding, taking him three wide and at the top of the straight he challenged the two leaders. In what was a  real staying test Kilowatt Kid got the better of The Bus just before the post, winning by half a neck.  Ian Thomson, Lindsay Thomson, Alister Black, Shirley Leakie (sister of the Ian and Lindsay), Blair Orange, Riley Black, Sheree Black and McKenzie Black    - Photo Bruce Stewart “He’s got an awesome attitude and a lovely way of going. I thought we had a good chance today even though Trottech completely wrote us off. I wasn’t so sure that we could bet The Bus, but we did.” Kilowatt Kid won't be targeting the New Zealand Derby, with Black preferring to stay close to home and aim at the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes on Diamonds Day at the end of next month.   Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing    

Former New Zealand trotter Tornado Valley signaled his class with a stunning all-the-way harness racing victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Grand Prix at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight (Saturday). Aided by a brilliant front-running drive from Kate Gath, the richly talented Skyvalley gelding defied race favourite Sparkling Success and Sky Petite in the 2240 mobile start feature. Having his third local start, Tornado Valley went one better than his effort last week when a runner-up behind Red Hot Tooth in the Knight Pistol at Cranbourne. Showing good gate speed to lead from his handy draw, Tornado Valley controlled the tempo of the event while Sparkling Success was forced to work hard without cover. The lead time was covered in 45.2 seconds. Tornado Valley traveled strongly throughout; the first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 30.9 and 30.7 seconds. The first move in the race came via Vincennes who eased three-deep passing the 1000m mark. Entering the back straight, Gath allowed Tornado Valley to stride boldly while Sparkling Success chased gamely on his outside. The third quarter was covered in 28.7 seconds. At the top of the straight, Tornado Valley and Sparkling Success were set for an epic stretch battle but Tornado Valley failed to yield while Sparkling Success tried valiantly. Tornado Valley held Sparkling Success by 1.9m while Sky Petite was further 11.3m away in third after sitting one out/one back throughout. The final split was covered in a very slick 27.7 seconds. The winning mile rate was 1:57.2 – well outside of the track and race record of 1:56 held by Keystone Del when successful in 2016. Tornado Valley is raced by Queensland based owner Norm Jenkin (of Flashing Red fame). It is the second time Andy Gath has prepared the winner of the Grand Prix after scoring with inaugural winner, former star trotting mare La Coocaracha back in 2001. An obvious long term target will be the recently re-introduced Inter Dominion series which will be staged in Victoria later this year. Tornado Valley joins Amaretto Sun (Dominion) and Sparkling Success (Great Southern Star) as winners of an Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters event this season, the final two legs will be staged in Auckland next month. And the race to be crowned the 2017/18 APG Trotting Master is very much alive. The $100,000 H R Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup is scheduled for April 20 while the $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup will take place the following week, both events held at Alexandra Park. 7 9:30pm SEELITE WINDOWS & DOORS AUSTRALIAN TROTTING GRAND PRIX (GROUP 1) 2240M $100,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TORNADO VALLEY NZ      Fr4 4 Andy Gath Kate Gath   $ 12.20   GS L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 6 by SKYVALLEY NZ out of BEGIN (NZ) ()  Owner(s): Jenkscraft Pty Ltd  Breeder(s): P L Gaugler, T M McMillan 2 SPARKLING SUCCESS      Fr6 7 John Meade Chris Svanosio 1.9m $ 1.50 fav  PRU 3WE OLM 2 3 SKY PETITE      Fr5 6 Dean Pattison Michael Stanley 13.2m $ 23.80   PRS GS 4 4 SAVANNAH JAY JAY      Fr3 3 Stan Cameron Neil McCallum 14.3m $ 60.20   PRS GS 3 5 REGAL PEPPERELL      Fr1 1 Michael Barby Anne-Maree Conroy 15.0m $ 36.10   PRS BB ODM 5 PH RR HUE USL 6 VINCENNES      Sr2 9 Anton Golino Jason Lee 16.6m $ 18.80   8 3WL 7 MAORI TIME      Sr1 8 Brent Lilley Gavin Lang 19.9m $ 12.60   PRS 12 3WLT 8 MY TRIBECA ITA      Fr2 2 Anton Golino Nathan Jack 21.7m $ 9.30   6 9 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Sr3 10 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 22.6m $ 10.30   10 3WLT Scratchings   THE BOSS MAN 5 Track Rating: Gross Time: 2:43:2 Mile Rate: 1:57:2 Lead Time: 45.2 First Quarter: 30.9 Second Quarter: 30.7 Third Quarter: 28.7 Fourth Quarter: 27.7 Margins: 1.9m x 11.3m   Chris Barsby

Northern Southland harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:10pm Race 1 - Mighty Flying Art $13.00 - $12.00 is the best backed runner in win betting but in multi betting it's no surprise to see that all the tickets are on the $1.16 favourite Another Masterpiece.            Race 2 - Bettor Be Gold $1.95 - $1.70 has been well backed with the largest win bets $2,105 at $1.95, $2,500 at $1.80 & $1,000 at $1.70.   Race 3 - A huge go in this race for the debut runner Arushi $12.00 - $3.80 & she is easily our worst result on the card in early win betting with the largest bets $909 at $12.00 & $1,200 at $8.00. She also leads multi betting over Tact Maggie $4.20.   Race 4 - Zoey's Gift $3.10 leads multi betting over Jaw D Nancy $2.80.   Race 5 - Dracarys $1.85 leads multi betting easily over the stablemate Kayla Marie $2.30.   Race 6 - The only two runners wanted here are Show Gait $3.80 - $2.80 & Luby Lou $4.00 - $3.60. Largest bets $2,000 & $1,500 at $4.00 Luby Lou & also $714 at $3.80, $800 at $3.50, $1,000 at $3.00 & $500 at $3.00 (X2) Show Gait.    Race 7 - The Bus $2.20 leads win & multi betting but solid win support has also come for Nota Bene Denario $11.50 - $10.00.   Race 8 - Patanjani $9.00 leads win betting with Chitura $2.60 leading multi betting over Envious $7.00.    Race 9 - More The Better $1.70 easily leads multi betting with Young Conqueror $14.00 leading win betting.    Race 10 - Smokey Mac $10.00 leads win betting with Harriet Of Mot $2.20 leading multi betting.   Race 11 - Swamp Major $3.80 - $2.80 is the only runner wanted early in win & multi betting. Largest win bets $714 at $3.80, $1,000 at $3.00 & $1,111 at $2.80.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Sensational harness racing 3yo Chase Auckland was back in winning form tonight, easily winning the $235,000 Woodlands Stud Northern Derby in race and New Zealand record time.  The imposing son of Auckland Reactor has now won eight races from nine starts this season, with his only defeat coming last week, when he was beaten by stablemate Sicario in the Derby prelude. Sicario ran second tonight giving trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen the Derby quinella. Chase Auckland (Auckland Reactor - Delicata) did not get it easy in tonights race and had to work hard to get to the front. However once getting there he never looked like getting headed and he cruised to victory in 3:16.8 for the 2700m mobile. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was full of praise for the 3yo after the race and said, "He raced well wide for a long way and I had to let him settle before committing him to take the front. All credit to the horse, he tried real hard and always felt great in the run."   "He actually felt like he could not get beat when he got to the front."  "It was great to wear the teal pants and win in a race like this," she said. The All Stars Stable had a very successful night also winning with Princess Tiffany and Jesse Duke. Princess Tiffany won the 2yo fillies $80,000 Delightful Lady Classic after sitting parked for the whole trip, while Jesse Duke put in an amazing run when winning the Group One $100,000 Young Guns. The impressive Jesse Duke (Bettor's Delight - Daisy Dundee) looked like he would be unlucky for the second week in a row when he was squeezed and broke early, but he picked himself up and zoomed home out wide from last at the turn to win narrowly in a 1:55.0 mile rate. His run was one of the best 2yo performances seen on the track in recent years. Chase Auckland winning the Derby   Harnesslink Media    

Alexandra Park harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:10pm Race 1 - Mass Destruction $27.00 - $18.00 easily leads win betting with the $2.20 favourite leading multi betting over Sex On Fire $3.90.   Race 2 - Zadaka $6.50 leads win betting over Check In $9.00 with Master Moonlite $2.30 just leading multi betting over Rain Man $3.80.   Race 3 - Girls On Film $1.75 is the only runner wanted in multi betting with the best backed runner in win betting Amanda's Spur $15.00.   Race 4 - The big mover here is American Empress $8.20 - $5.50 with the largest bets $500 at $8.20, $500 at $7.00 & $1,000 at $6.50.  Delishka $2.90 leads multi betting over American Empress & Opoutama $4.00.   Race 5 - C K Spur $4.20 leads win & multi betting over Sunset Peak $6.50.   Race 6 - Princess Tiffany $1.75 is the only runner wanted in win & multi betting.   Race 7 - Pat's Delight $9.50 - $8.20 has been well backed early but in multi betting Chase Auckland $1.40 dominates.   Race 8 - Jesse Duke $1.60 has lost no admirers after last week's defeat & is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 9 - Jack's Legend $2.50 - $2.30 has taken all the early win money & isn't that far behind the $1.85 favourite Star Galleria in multi betting.   Race 10 - Delight Me $1.30 is racing away in multi betting with Loud An Proud $20.00 the best backed runner early in win betting.    The 'top 6' best backed runners in early multi betting: R7    Chase Auckkland $1.40  R6    Princess Tiffany $1.75  R8   Jesse Duke $1.60  R10 Delight In Me $1.30 R9   Star Galleria $1.85  R3   Girls On Film $1.65     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Westport harness racing fixed odds movers as at 1:10pm Race 1 - Getarattleon $2.50 is the only runner wanted in win & multi betting.   Race 2 - The only early win money is for the debut runner Shadow Minister $2.90 & Change Is Good $10.50 - $8.00.   Race 3 - Red Hot Rocket $4.00 - $3.40 easily leads win betting with the largest early bets $1,000 & $500 at $4.00.   Race 4 - Immortal Change $1.65 dominates multi betting.   Race 5 - A very quiet win 'book' early but as in the previous race the $2.30 favourite Skipperland easily leads multi betting.   Race 6 - Corena Lea $13.00 leads win betting over Take After Me $9.80.   Race 7 - Pradas Ideal Dahling $14.00 leads win betting over Franco Tristram $8.00.   Race 8 - Bobby T $7.50 is the best backed runner in multi betting.   Race 9 - Nurburgring $3.20 leads multi betting over Scelta Uno $16.00 who leads early win betting over Swap Over $4.20.   Race 10 - Scallywag Sam $4.80 - $4.20 easily leads win betting over Jerry Garcia $15.00.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Chase Auckland may be running out of ways to get beaten in tonight's $250,000 Woodlands Northern Derby at Alexandra Park. The son of Auckland Reactor has looked every inch his father's son in his debut season, winning both the Sires' Stakes and Sales Series Pace before tasting defeat for the first time in the Derby prelude last Friday. That was when he was forced to sit parked outside stablemate Sicario and only just failed to grab him in his first start for two months, suggesting he will clearly strip fitter tonight. Even after that defeat the TAB opened Chase Auckland a $1.35 favourite and those taking the short will do so without too many obvious stumbling blocks. Already this crop has been shorn on several key rivals through injury, illness or sales overseas. In the last two weeks first Pat's Delight and then Sicario, with huge Alexandra Park wins, have emerged as genuine Derby threats to Chase Auckland, at least until Monday's barrier draw. Sicario, who may well be as talented as his stablemate on last Friday's run, drew the second line and while he is the only horse there he still looks set to settle closer to last than first. And Pat's Delight fared even worse, drawing the outside of the front line while Chase Auckland drew barrier six. Pat's Delight's trainer Cran Dalgety was pragmatic about the draw. "If we were going into the race as the big dog maybe we could roll the dice and go forward from barrier eight," said Dalgety. "But if we go blasting out and try and lead from there, even if we make the front, we will set the race up for something else." So with his two best credentialed rivals likely settling behind him, Chase Auckland's only major worries should be those in front of him. There are some handy, future open class rivals between him and the lead but only Sheriff would seem any hope of holding him out and even then any desire to do so would be sorely tested if Chase Auckland got serious inside the first lap. More and more, it looks like a Derby he should eventually lead and win. The classic is just one of a stretch of six major races in a row, starting with a small but very even Northern Mares Classic, which could be decided by how hard Delishka has to work. The open trot looks a lottery but CK Spur's manners are so good his improvement curve might continue, especially with the backmarkers not suited by the big field. The southern fillies dominate the Delightful Lady, with Bubbled Up probably the best value since there doesn't seem to be much between her, Princess Tiffany and Kendra. Jesse Duke looks the best of the freshman boys in the Young Guns Final but is still very much learning so maybe not a true multi bet anchor. And the return clash of Jack's Legend and Star Galleria in the City Of Auckland Free-For-All should be a beauty, with the former holding a crucial draw advantage tonight. Star Galleria may be flat out faster than Jack's Legend but if he has to move mid-race to sit parked while Jack's Legend leads then it is advantage Jack's Legend, and at $2.50 fixed he is a good bet. MIchael Guerin

Many are saying Saturday's Northern Southland Trotting Club harness racing fields are the best seen in the south for a long time and they're not wrong. The sight of a fresh crop of two year olds; split into fillies and colts and geldings races, is in itself great to see and that's just the start of the story here. The inaugural Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks has carded a field full of depth and is proof of the emergence of Majestic Son as a sire of quality squaregaiters. Six of the eleven starters in Saturday's feature for trotting fillies are by Majestic Son. And there's no doubting that Wintonian Michelle Caig will be on-course just to see Renezmae, a horse she bred and raised. Renezmae, the likely favourite, won the Group One Breeders Crown for two year old fillies in Australia last season. After racing tough at Ashburton in the Hambletonian Classic last month she ran a brave fourth. The trip away and the race at Ascot Park will improve her chances for the New Zealand Trotting Oaks in a fortnight. But a win on Saturday won't surprise either. There is no doubting that trotting is on the climb in this country and this inititive is one of the many good things to come out of the Southland region this season. The New Zealand Standardbred Breeders, led by John Mooney and Brad Reid, have been to the forefront in getting this $20,000 race off the ground and the Australian based Hara des Trotteurs have been quick to support the fillies feature. Another inititive this season in the south has been the Nuggets Series. Starting in August, all heats have been worth $12,000 and all winners and second placegetters have become eligible to race in the $20,000 final at Ascot Park on Saturday. All winners, with the exception of Ardtoo, have fronted up and it a race that looks like a preview for the Southern Supremacy Stakes Final on Diamonds Day at the end of next month. The highest rated horse by a mile is the Mark Jones trained The Bus at R81. He's won six races this season with the next best rated horse being Zealand Star (R70) the winner of three. This for me is the race of the day with favourite horses like Franco Santino drawing wide and The Bus and the highly rated Lawrence having to content with second line draws.  Then we get to the three; Group Three races, on a day where there seems to be no undercard. The Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup has had many great winners over the years including Mossdale Connor, Isaiah, Terror To Love (twice), Stunin Cullen and Bondy. More The Better will probably be the favourite for Saturday distance feature. As a three year old, he really came on late in the season and put together a winning sequence of four while campaigning in Australia. His wins there included the Group Two Queensland Derby. He comes into this 2700 metre race fresh but having won two trials. He's won his only standing start in Australia last season.  The Group Three Southern Lights, sponsored by Pryde's Easifeeds, is another mouth watering affair. The return of Dark Horse, who has been fitted for her return to racing at the Winton Workouts, will bring many to the track.   Harriot Of Mot, who has a few ex- Southlanders as owners, looks to be her main rival. She won this race in 2016. Smokey Mac, who currently leads the four year old ranking for the Harness Jewels also lines up in this feature. Trainer Brett Gray will get a good idea as to where he's at by racing against the better class trotters.  The Caduceus Club of Southland, who sponsor The Super Nuggets Final, also sponsor the two year old fillies feature with Alabar Stud. It also carries Group Three status. This race has been around for sixteen years and some of the early winners were Western Dream and Beaudiene Bad Babe. More recently Joanne's A Delight, Delightful Memphis and Dizzy Miss Lizzy have won. There are some other intriguing battles as well on the day with Hail Christian up against Swamp Major in the last race and quality up-and-coming trotters BD Love, Zoey's Gift and Jaw D Nancy squaring off. The weather forecast looks good so all roads lead to Ascot Park on Saturday for what should be a bumper day of harness racing. See ya there.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing  

Forbury harness racing fixed odds movers as at 2:10pm Race 1 - Robbie Royale $17.00 - $11.00 leads win betting with Wayward Roc $6.00 leading multi betting over Our Foxy Lady $3.40.    Race 2 - Dodgethebullet $2.30 easily leads multi betting with Christie Marie $12.00 leading win betting over Walk Like A Man $7.20 - $6.50 & Bobbie's Medley $21.00.   Race 3 - Calendar Girlz $2.60 is the best backed runner in multi betting.   Race 4 - The $1.75 favourite Get It On is the only runner wanted in multi betting. Armstrong $12.00 is attracting some early win support.   Race 5 - Easton Foxglove $3.00 leads multi betting over Excellent $4.50. Blarney Babe $7.50 leads win betting.   Race 6 - Playboy's Brother $2.60 easily leads win & multi betting.   Race 7 - Say Your Pres $3.50 is the only runner wanted in win & multi betting.   Race 8 - Smooth Mara $2.60 easily leads multi betting with some early win money coming for For The Corz $12.50 - $11.00.   Race 9 - Jakira $3.40 leads multi betting over Double rainbow $5.00 & Power Surge $6.50. Power Surge leads win betting.   Race 10 - Arma Twospoons $12.00 - $10.00 leads win betting over Hedonist Franco $11.00 with Editorial $2.50 dominating multi betting.    Race 11 - Passion Flower $12.00 - $11.00 leads win betting.   In place betting Christie Marie $3.60 has been well backed in race 2 along with Gunpowder $5.00 in race 5 & Thaboyz Toy $3.60 in race 10.       Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Grass track harness racing continues in the South this week with a two day meeting on the West Coast at Westport and Reefton. The highlight this week is the group racing at Alexandra on Friday night with the Woodlands Northern Derby the feature. Northern Southland on Saturday and Forbury tonight make up the rest of the harness racing meetings to be held this week. Another good week on the ringaround last week where there were several long priced winners and a large number of placings. Terry Chmiel had the best winning dividend when his best chance of the week Titanium won at Cheviot and paid $11.30 and $2.40 on the tote.  Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in after the deadline, so check back often   Forbury on Thursday Brad Williamson - Brad says his best drive this week would be Motu Time To Shine at Forbury in Race 8 John Morrison - John is going for Lorretta Franco as his best drive this week at Forbury in Race 9 Craig Ferguson - Craig says his best chance this week is Rozzano at Forbury in Race 10   Alexandra Park on Friday Matthew Williamson - Matthew says his best drive would be Delishka on Friday at Auckland in Race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Steve thinks The Almighy Johnson can win at Auckland in Race 5 Todd Macfarlane - Todd says his best chance this week is Cheesy Fingers at Auckland in Race 6 Andre Poutama - Andre is going for Jo's Dream as his best drive this week in Race 9   Menangle on Friday Night Mark Jones - Mark is going for Delightful Memphis again as his best chance this week in Race 6 at Menangle   Westport on Friday John Curtin - John likes the chances of Getarattleon at Westport in Race 1 Gavin Smith - Gavin is going for Change Is Good as his best drive this week in Race 2 Harnesslink Reporter - thinks Betterthankaty can go close to winning at Westport in Race 5   Northern Southland on Friday Shane Walkinshaw - Shane thinks his best drive this week would be Franco Huntington in Race 2 Geoff Knight - Geoff thinks that Archman would be his best chance this week also in Race 2 Rory Mcllwrick - Rory agrees and says Archman would be his best chance this week in Race 2 Blair Orange - Blair thought Zenola's Art would be his best drive this week at Ascot Park in Race 3 Racechat - Lance thinks that Dark Horse is a good winning chance at Ascot Park in Race 10 Brent Barclay - Brent is opting for Please Shuddup as his best chance this week in Race 11     Harnesslink Media  

The North Island Trainers and Drivers Association have appointed Scott Phelan as Youth Development Officer for the region. The role has been created to assist the youth of the industry with their development and knowledge and act as a support role for any young person who may require assistance or advice. Todd Macfarlane of the North Island Trainers and Drivers Association explained that Phelan will be available for all youth in the industry on an open door approach. “There is a lot of talent out there and we want to help nurture them and help them be the best they can be,” said Macfarlane. “Scott will be available in a support role at race meetings and trials and can be contacted at any time.” “He can also assist in enquires and view race videos, and if a rule has been breached he can also help explain what could have been done to help drivers learn from mistakes. The stipendiary stewards are also very supportive of Scott and we feel that this is a positive support base for cadets and young drivers and trainers.” “The trainers and drivers association also would like to thank the North Island Amateur and North Island Owners association for their support financially in creating this role.” Anyone wishing to seek advice or support from Phelan is encouraged to contact him directly on 022-329-9455. The Northern Harness Racing Cadets in conjunction with the North Island Branch of NZ Trainers & Drivers Association will also hold an Industry Field Day at Franklin Park Training Centre. This will be on Monday 26 March starting with lunch at 12 noon and the activities beginning at 12.30pm. Both groups are encouraging the North Island harness trainers to send along their stable hands, cadets and junior drivers so they have the opportunity to gain knowledge from our industry leaders. Speakers on the day will be Graeme Henley on pedigrees, Tony Grayling on stud duties from getting mares in foal until they are ready for the next step which is Yearling preparation. This topic will be covered by Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson. Brent Mangos and Steven Reid will part with their knowledge and opinions for selecting Yearlings to purchase and then following on Derek Balle and Owen Gillies will demonstrate how the breaking and gaiting process works. Syndication with ATC Syndicate Manager Andrew Jamieson will be the last topic on the day. The day will have its share of fun along the way with quizzes, prizes and giveaways for those in attendance. Scott Phelan in his role as the Youth Development Officer along with a delegation of the North Island Trainers & Drivers will be there to co-ordinate and over-see the afternoon. The North Island Trainers & Drivers have organised for an MVP Award for the 2017/18 season with a trip to leading trainer Gary Hall in Perth. This will be points based with all cadets and junior drivers eligible. For any further information on the day contact Sally Waters the North Island Education & Training Co-ordinator on 027 494 2850.

Cambridge harness racing fixed odds movers as at 2:10pm Race 1 - The Persuader $3.60 easily leads win & multi betting over Atom Hanover $12.50.   Race 2 - For Tony $16.00 - $14.00 leads win betting with Ideal Star $2.20 & Lacey's Lad dominating multi betting.     Race 3 - Highview Illusion $7.50 - $5.50 is the best backed runner in win & multi betting.     Race 4 - Hughies Sister $2.60 easily leads multi betting.    Race 5 - Queen Lostris $2.30 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 6 - Shay Scott $10.00 leads win betting and is the 2nd best backed in multi betting behind the $3.00 favourite Trouble Giero.   Race 7 - The outsider Spandau Ballet $30.00 - $21.00 leads win betting over Volando Denario $4.20 & The C E O $9.00 - $7.50.   Race 8 - The debut runner Awhi Mai $2.80 & Rave Nation $3.10 equally lead multi betting.      Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)