Day At The Track

Changeover has made a great start with his progeny in the new New Zealand racing season. The Burwood Stud-based stallion has already left seven individual winners including three in the space of 72 hours last week – Jungle Gem (1:59.1, Cambridge Raceway), I’m Trouble (Invercargill) and a ‘new’ winner Rockngoodtime (Oamaru). In Australia, Changeover was represented by winners in three different States last week. Controversial NZ posted win No. 31 at Menangle to raise his stake tally to $246,266, Little Change won for the 13th time at Redcliffe and the three-year-old filly Changeup notched her fourth success from 10 starts at Globe Derby Park in a career-best 1:57.3. Changeover has sired 63 individual winners in Australia this season and they have amassed over $1.4 million in stakes. Jungle Gem winning at Cambridge.   By Peter Wharton

For the third time in just a few days one of the country’s pacing elite has been surprisingly scratched from a major race but in the case of Princess Tiffany there is nothing to worry about. And punters can feel just as relaxed about New Zealand Cup big guns Self Assured and Spankem after they started the race-missing trend. Princess Tiffany was in the field to take on Copy That and the northern stars in the Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night but a longer than expected float trip north will see her miss the race. “She took a day longer to get up there than we hoped and she missed some work,” said trainer Mark Purdon. “She is totally fine but you can’t go into those sort of races after missing a hoppled run so I’d rather be cautious.” The start was to have been Princess Tiffany’s last in New Zealand for a while as she flies out to Victoria next week to be aimed at the mares Triple Crown there culminating in the Queen of the Pacific at Melton. Stablemate Another Masterpiece will be on the same plane to Victoria next week but he will start in the Spring Cup on Friday, a race which is shaping as the toughest test of Copy That’s season so far. The four-year-old has been spectacular this campaign and is now the $2.50 favourite for the New Zealand Cup and while he has beaten most of those be meets this Friday all season he has drawn barrier nine this week, coming into the outside of the front line. That means possibly giving many of the open class stars he has been getting starts from an advantage which, along with the possibility of traffic concerns, means the 2200m standing start may be anything but the walk in the park Copy That’s form would suggest. His place at the head of the New Zealand Cup market comes not only because of his supersonic form but after setbacks to long-time Cup favourite Self Assured and to a lesser extent last season’s runner-up Spankem. Both were supposed to start in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday yet missed the race after having sore hooves from working on a track which has got unseasonably hard at the All Stars’s property. That comes on top of Self Assured galloping so badly at his last start he tailed off and has been put on the unruly, which means he will in all likelihood be giving Copy That, and everybody else, a start in the $540,000 Cup at Addington on November 10. Future punters are a jittery bunch and the fact Self Assured and Spankem were scratched will have tongues wagging as there is nothing punters like more than a good rumour. But any long-term concerns about the pair should be allayed by the fact they are both in at the Rangiora trials today. “They have had some farrier work done and are good to go so they can trial here and then race at Addington next week,” says Purdon. “So this won’t affect their NZ Cup build-up at all, not this far out from the race.” Friday night’s Alex Park meeting also features the richest New Zealand harness race since Covid bullied its way into our lives, with the $200,000 Harness Million, the first running of New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s new sales final. While hot favourite Krug had his coloured lowered by American Dealer in the Sires’ Stakes Final last Friday he will still be be red hot to win this week’s 2200m return match after drawing the ace, with American Dealer on the second line and the horse probably rated the only other winning chance It’s All About Faith drawn barrier five. The meeting also see exciting four-year-old trotter Bolt For Brilliance taking on former stablemate Temporale in the main trot in the greatest test of his career so far after being quite stunning winning last Friday.   by Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    Junior driver Olivia Thornley is keeping a cool head as her drive in one of the country’s richest age-group races of the season looms. The twenty-year-old has been entrusted with the drive behind Aladdin, a genuine contender in the inaugural running of the listed $200,000 Harness Million Two-Year-Old Colts And Geldings Final at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Thornley took the drive behind Aladdin when he caught the eye when flashing home for fifth placing behind American Dealer in last week’s Group 1 Sires Stakes Final at the same track. With even more cash on the line this week, trainer Mark Purdon is more than happy having the rookie reinswoman in the sulky behind his pacer. “Olivia has really stepped up for us over the last six months and she is worthy of the opportunity.” Thornley is naturally thrilled to get the opportunity to drive Aladdin in two on the country’s biggest age group races in the space of a week. The reinswoman said her Sires Stakes Final outing has eased her nerves leading in to the Harness Million. “I probably got rid of the nerves last week because that was a group 1, so now I am focussing on the race.” Aladdin was second last on the home turn before unleashing a powerful finish in last week’s race. Thornley admitted she did not think her pacer would flash home quite as well as he did. “He went very good.” “When we were turning for home I thought we could run in the top six, but I didn’t expect him to finish off the way he did.” Aladdin has not drawn ideally again this week, but is slightly better off in the Harness Million with barrier 2 on the second row. “As long as we get a little bit of luck we should get a good run and hopefully we should be there abouts at the finish,” Thornley said. Thornley drives Aladdin with the support of Purdon and Rasmussen, as well as the horse’s owner Jean Feiss. The prominent owner has backed the reinswoman in the past by giving her the drive on her former classy racemare, Elle Mac. Repaying that faith would make victory in the Harness Million a extra special, Thornley said. “It would be a huge thrill, especially to do it for Jean, she has been such a great supporter of mine throughout my All Stars career.” “To get a win like that for Mark and Nat would be great, too.” Aladdin disappointed in his first look at Alexandra Park in Krug’s win in the last heat of the Sires Stakes Series. But now that the horse has a better feel for the track Purdon can not see why the pacer will not go a big race in Friday night’s history making race. “I think his first up run helped him a bit – it sometimes does going the Auckland way for the first time,” the trainer said. “His run last week showed more of the ability I thought he had.” “He is going to be handy in the run given the horse he follows out [B D Joe].” “With a better run than he got last week you would think he could feature in the finish.” Aladdin opened the equal fourth favourite for the Harness Million Two-Year-Old Colts And Geldings with his stablemate Bettor Call Me at $34 odds. Krug headed the market at $1.55 ahead of It’s All About Faith ($3.10) and American Dealer ($18). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Down Under Pacers have a successful harness racing day at Plainridge Park on Monday. The raceway in Massachusetts of Plainridge Park saw four down under horses win and a further two placings. It all started off with Ideal Star N pacing 1:51.3 around the 5/8th mile track (1000m) to win his $15,000 pace. That was quickly backed up by Audi Hare N who came out on top in a close finish in 1:52.1, giving trainer Sheena Mcelhiney and driver Shawn T Gray a double with Ideal Star N and Audi Hare N. Next up was Fernleigh Rebel N who was far too good for his field winning in 1:53.4. Finally the amazing winner of over $1 million Bettors Fire scored another victory for his career winning the $12,000 pace in 1:52.1. This 12yo son of Bettors Delight has raced in 3 countries over his racing career and holds a lifetime mark of 1:50.2.  The four Down Under horses that won on the day were aged 6, 8, 10, and 12.  A great representation of the successful future a harness horse can have racing in a different hemisphere after racing Down Under.    Down Under Trotter keeps on winning in North America. Majestic Player A has put up yet another big winning performance on Saturday night racing at Hoosier Park in Indiana. It was a convincing win on the night just like the way she has been winning all year. The Walter Haynes Jr trained and Sam Widger driven gelding trotted the mile in 1:51.4. It was the 6yo son of Majestic Sons 13th victory for the season in the US and has also placed a further two seconds. An export from Yabby Dam Farms in Melbourne, Australia, Majestic Player A is really flying the flag for the few Down Under Trotters racing in North America.   Monday 14th September   Plainridge Park MA Ideal Star N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $15,000   Audi Hare N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,500 Fernleigh Rebel N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $9,000 Bettors Fire N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $12,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Luciano N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $8,500 Mr Cool Seaeyre N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $8,500 Zach Maguire N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,500 Down Under First 4 – 2nd Soho Wallstreet A, 3rd Wardan Express A, 4th Yayas Hot Spot N Provocativeprince N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $12,500   Tuesday 15th September   Harrington Raceway DE Lincolns Girl N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $7,500 Running Aces Casino & Racetrack MN Quite A Delight N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $5,200 My Kiwi Lady N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $9,000   Saratoga Harness NY Barynya A – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $3,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Amrcanbootscoota A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $8,500 Walkinshaw N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $12,500 Anne Bonney N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,000 Military Master A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $15,000   Wednesday 16th September   Harrahs Philadelphia PA Myidealson N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $7,600 Delishka N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $14,400 American Empress N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $8,800   Thursday 17th September   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Executive Dash N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $3,600 Yonkers Raceway NY Shes Sporty A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $8,500 Kimani N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,500 Lucky Artist A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $15,000 Upper Sandusky OH Iam Erik N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $1,750   Friday 18th September   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Captain Dolmio N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $5,000 Shenandoah Downs VA Hugh Hefner N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $4,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Tin Roof Raider A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $8,500 Soho Lennon N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $15,000 Mickey Gee N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $25,000 Runrunjimmydunn N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $15,000   Saturday 19th September   Batavia Downs NY Sir Richie N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,000   Freehold Raceway NJ Power Dreaming N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $5,000 Imarocnrollegend N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $12,000 Vapour N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $7,700   Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Majestic Player A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $18,000   Hawthorne Racecourse IL Tulhurstsantanna A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $10,500   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Cyclone Kiwi N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $9,900   Meadowlands NJ Whitehaven Lass A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $8,000   Ocean Downs MD Shneonucrzydiamnd A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $5,600   Shenandoah Downs VA Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $4,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Need Luck N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $11,200 Stromont Czar A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $10,000 Lachie Maguire N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $16,000 Kerford Road A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $11,200 Itsrockandroll A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $11,200   Kawartha Downs CA Brigadierbronski A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $4,900   Sunday 20th September   Harrahs Philadelphia PA Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000 Vettel N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $11,600 Jacks Shadow N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $8,800 Paduka N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $6,800   Northfield Park OH Lettucerockthem A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,200 He Can Fly N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $8,800   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Coveredndiamonds N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $6,800 Shezza GnP A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $8,800   Flamboro Downs CA  Toot Toot N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $6,500   Leamington Raceway CA Bute Courage N – Time: 1:59.4, Stake: $4,200 Cullens Kefe N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $5,000   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    After landing his first ever hat-trick of wins in one day, North Canterbury trainer Matt Purvis succinctly summed up his Sunday at Oamaru. “To have three winners and two fourths from five starters you couldn’t be disappointed.” Confident he was going to have a good day it started perfectly and a little surprisingly with Rockngoodtime winning the first after the two favourites Mossdale Mac and Simply Shaz botched the start. Driven by John Dunn it was the first win for the son of Changeover in 17 starts. After favourite Hayden Bromac won race three, Purvis completed his training treble when My Moment’s Now cleared out by six lengths in race six to record her second win in seven starts. “She has a stack of ability and that was a real statement on Sunday.” It was the first time he’d had three winners in one day, saying in terms of career highlights it was “right up there”. Adding to the day there were fourths to Arnie’s Army in the last and Jenabella in race five – “she just got too far back”. Jenabella and Fun In The Dark will front up at Motukarara this weekend with two of Sunday’s winners Hayden Bromac and Rockngoodtime likely to head to Timaru on October 4. Based at Woodend Beach the 29 year old has a team of around 15 in work at the moment. Career wise he has now had 30 wins in 309 starts, though six race winner Machs Mareta is no longer in his barn. Earlier this month she was sold to Australian interests.

Following on from Methven’s first grass track meeting of the new season, this weekend is Motukarara’s turn. This time though there will be crowds allowed, with the country, excluding Auckland, now back at Level One. The Methven meeting on September 13 was open to essential staff and owners only. In preparation for this weekend racecourse inspector John Denton went on to course to ensure everything is as it should be. Motukarara will host six meetings this season.   HRNZ Marketing

New Zealand Cup favourite Copy That faces another new challenge on his road to the great race at Alexandra Park this Friday. The four-year-old finds himself in the almost unfathomable position as $2.50 favourite for the NZ Cup after entries closed last week and then things started to get bumpy for Self Assured. The long-time NZ Cup favourite and his stablemate Spankem both missed the Hannon Memorial on Sunday with hoof issues caused by a hard training track and one thing punters don’t like is uncertainty. But TAB bookie Matt Peden says that is not only one reasons Self Assured has been replaced as the New Zealand Cup favourite. “Once Self Assured was put on the unruly we couldn’t really ask punters to take the same odds for the Cup as when he was starting off the front,” says Peden. “So we have that, the fact he has been missing away and then missing a race in the Hannon, those things all pushed him out a bit more.” So after getting as short as $1.90, Self Assured is $2.70 for those who think his manners will improve and the unruly will assist rather than harm him. Peden says everything about Copy That has gone the other way, with great performances and good manners and the son of American Ideal who was $26 in the opening futures market could shorten even more should be continue on his winning way on Friday. But to do so he is going to have to overcome starting from one on the second line over the 2200m, effectively giving away a start to the north’s best pacers. He started off the inside draw from a 10m handicap to win in a similar field two starts ago but on that occasion four of his open class rivals were off 20m. This time he is giving most of them a start. The northerners will be joined by Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece, who are stopping over in Auckland as they head to Victoria. So while it is hard to see this week being an easy kill for Copy That if he is good enough to keep winning his $2.50 could shorten up even more. There hasn’t been great money for many of the NZ Cup favourite, with Spankem backed early at $7 and now out to $9 but there was specking for southerners like U May Cullect and Robyns Playboy. Peden says the market for the Dominion, which also became a little clearer when entries closed last week, took its biggest turn when Sundees Son smashed his rivals last start. “Before then we had a whole clump of horses around that $5.50 to $7 mark but that was the performance that shifted the market for us. “There haven’t been a lot plated at longer odds there yet.” Peden says the TAB book has been going “extremely well” and puts that down to a hard-working four-man team of price assessors as well as the great job the industry has done in making workout and trials videos accessible to everybody, including the bookies. “That has made it very hard to keep good workouts and trials secret but we are lucky to have a really strong team who love what they do.”   Michael Guerin

Perfect Sting remains undefeated after winning the $250,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Final for two year old pacing colts and geldings at the Red Mile today. After settling fourth, the son of Always B Miki made a move to the front during the 26.6 second quarter. He was challenged at the top of the home straight, but he responded to win going away by two and a half lengths. Perfect Sting is now a perfect six for six and has earnings of $194,400. His time today was 1:49.8 – his second sub 1:50 mile of the season. Perfect Sting is the third foal of the fast Bettors Delight mare Shebestingin 1:47. Interestingly there is a New Zealand connection with Mark and Pauline O’Connor owning Wantapieceofme, a half sister to Shebestingin. Always B Miki is the current leading first season sire in the US. While his book is full in Australia he is still available in New Zealand at a fee of $7,000 plus GST.

American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) reigned supreme as NZB Standardbred graduates dominated the first Group One of the new harness racing season at Alexandra Park on Friday night.  The Ray Green trained pacer showed himself to be a complete racehorse when taking out the $128,000 Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final (1700m) for driver David Butcher in an exciting finish. American Dealer showed brilliant gait speed early in the race and just as much dash at the finish to hold out the favourite and fellow NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sale graduate, Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), in an exciting finish to the $140,000 feature. Green was full of praise for his colt following American Dealer’s maiden Group One win. “I am very proud of him,” Green told HRNZ. “He is a real little racehorse and he has a big season ahead of him.” After finding the front early, American Dealer set a solid pace to set up his slick winning time of 2-00.9 and mile rate of 1-54.4. American Dealer became the fourth individual Group One winner from NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale, following a highly interrupted first season on the track for its graduates. The American Ideal (USA) colt from Bettor’s Delight (USA) mare, Maddison’s Delight was a bargain $23,000 purchase by Lincoln Farms Bloodstock at Christchurch in 2019. The classy customer was offered as a member of the White Stables of Winton draft and was sold on account of Auckland breeder-owner and trainer Lew Driver. With his win on Friday night, American Dealer became the latest in a lengthy list of Group One performers bred by leviathan breeder, the late Charles Roberts. The victory also saw driver David Butcher win his first Group One race in New Zealand since 2011. Krug launched a brave finish after enduring a tough run outside the leader early in the race and got within a head of the winner at the finish. With NZB Standardbred graduates making up the entire field for the Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final, 2019 National Yearling Sale purchases were always going to fill the trifecta. At the finish, It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) took third after making a searching run around the field from his wide second row draw. B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) ran into fourth placing after trailing American Dealer throughout. American Dealer has the chance to bank another big race purse just seven days after achieving Group One glory. The classy colt will take on an almost identical field in the $200,000 Listed Harness Million Two Year Old Colts And Geldings at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou) will be out to make up for his unlucky run for fifth in the Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final. The All Stars stable colt, who was forced to race at the rear from his wide front row draw, flashed home in an eye-catching effort.   NZB Standardbred

NZ Cup champion Cruz Bromac could launch his campaign to defend the title as soon as next Saturday. Managing owner Danny Zavitsanos said the veteran would either resume in a 2240m Melton free-for-all on Saturday or wait for the $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at the same track a week later. “This week is a chance. Dean (Braun, trainer) is weighing-up his options,” Zavitsanos said. Strangely, waiting for the richer Smoken Up Sprint could be an easier option if, as it now seems very likely, next week’s race will bring together Victoria’s two best pacers, Ride High and Lochinvar Art, for the first time. Cruz Bromac hasn’t raced since finishing fifth to then stablemate Self Assured in the Group 1 Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve. Soon after he was sidelined from a planned Sydney raid because of a fetlock injury and eventually made his way back to Braun’s stable. The nine-year-old (in NZ terms) has won two recent trials, the first at Terang on September 5 and the latest just last Tuesday at Kilmore. Cruz Bromac was asked to a bit more at Kilmore, beating open-class pacer Star Of Memphis by four metres in a 1min59.3sec mile rate for 2180m and finishing-off in 56.4 and 27.7sec. Just as he did last year, Cruz Bromac will tackle the Group 1 Victoria Cup on October 10 with a view to then heading back to the All Stars’ barn in Christchurch to prepare for the NZ Cup.   By Adam Hamilton

By Jonny Turner    Missing a plane to North America continued to pay dividends for Classie Brigade as he continued his brilliant run in to the New Zealand Cup by winning yesterday’s Hannon Memorial. The Robert Dunn trained pacer made it back to back wins in New Zealand Cup lead up races by powering away from placegetters Robyns Playboy and Tango Tara to win the group 3 Oamaru feature. While question marks hang over the campaigns of several of the leading contenders for the New Zealand’s biggest harness race, Classie Brigade sits alongside North Island hope Copy That as one of the most in form horses amongst the contenders for the 3200m event. Classie Brigade has landed in that prime position just weeks after he should have been touching down in North America. Owner Grant Eynon, with his father, Colin Eynon, and long-time friend Mark McKinnon, signed off on selling last year’s New Zealand Cup third placegetter subject to a vet report. Thankfully for the trio of owners, their 8yr-old never got the necessary tick needed to step on the flight he was booked on to. “We have actually sold this horse three times, but we have still got him,” owner Grant Eynon said. “He never quite gets there, but now I am very pleased we haven’t.” “It was during lockdown – he was meant to be going to the [United] States.” Classie Brigade produced one of his customary safe beginnings in yesterday’s feature as U May Cullect, drawn to his inside, went away in a wild gallop. Though he did not shoot straight to the lead as he has in nearly all of his races this season, Classie Brigade took the front off eventual runner-up Robyns Playboy shortly after the start. The 2020 edition of the Hannon Memorial was effectively over at that point as driver John Dunn controlled the event, before Classie Brigade unleashed a scintillating 54sec last 800m to win. The kind of trouble-free run their horse enjoyed yesterday is exactly what the 8yr-old’s owners are hoping he gets in the New Zealand Cup, following Classie Brigade’s effort to flash in to third after being held up in the home straight in Cruz Bromac’s win in last year’s edition. “He had to come around them with a horse stopping in front of them – he hasn’t had a lot of luck – but he has won his share,” Grant Eynon said. Yesterday’s win was Classie Brigade’s seventh group 2 or group 3 race victory. A group 1 win is just about all that is missing from the four-time group 1 placegetter’s resume. A New Zealand Cup win be a perfect way to bring it up, according to the horse’s owners. “It would be great if he could top it off and win the cup, that would be fantastic,” Eynon said. “He has gone close, but he kept on running in to that horse called Lazarus.” “If he keeps his standing start manners and keeps rattling home fast last quarters [400m] he will be a hard horse to beat.” Robyns Playboy boosted his New Zealand Cup hopes with his strong second placing, two lengths behind Classie Brigade. Tango Tara was solid in third, ahead of A G’s White Socks, who was forced to sit parked for the final lap of yesterday’s feature. Though U May Cullect ran last of seven runners and made a poor beginning, the popular pacer looked to have improved from the very slow start he made to his season at Winton last week. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

ONLY a late change of plans will thwart the first clash of superstar Aussie pacers Ride High and Lochinvar Art at Melton next Saturday night. Ride High’s trainer Clayton Tonkin confirmed his pacing sensation would chase his 17th win from just 18 starts in the $30,000 Minuteman Free-For-All (2240m), while Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran said it was “very likely” his charge would be there as well. Lochinvar Art lost no admirers when a monstrous second in scorching times at Bendigo on Saturday night. The Chariots Of Fire winner smashed the clock from a horror draw and after doing all the work when a mighty second to Hurricane Harley in track record time. He was timed to run his last mile of the 2150m race in a mind-blowing 1min50.9sec, some of it three and even four-wide. “His run was massive under the circumstances,” Moran said. “And, as I said going into it, he needed the run. He’ll take a lot out of it. “I’ll give him the day to make sure he’s come through it well, which he seems to have, and make a final decision tomorrow (Monday), but I will most likely back-up next week. “He thrives on racing every week and he needs the hard racing to be right at his top for the (Victoria) Cup.” Confirmation Ride High will run this week means he will almost certainly bypass the $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (1720m) at Melton on October 3 and continue his routine of racing every second-week by going straight to the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup (2240m) on October 10. In other Victoria Cup news, it’s growing increasingly likely Sydney sensation Cash N Flow will stretch-out from his beloved sprint racing to the 2240m of the Cup. Cash N Flow won a staggering 12th successive Menangle mile race last night (Saturday) and broke the magical 1min50sec mark for a record eighth time. “We’ll chat with the owners and make the final call, but we’re not worried about him going out to 2240m, especially the form he’s in at the moment,” driver Luke McCarthy said. McCarthy and Craig Cross are sending Australasian 2300m record-holder Zennart down to race against Ride High and Lochinvar Art. And McCarthy said three of their stars – Balraj, Alta Orlando and Cash N Flow – were definite to go straight into the Victoria Cup without racing again. Bling It On is also a Victoria Cup definite, but he will race against King Of Swing at Menangle next Saturday night. And what about King Of Swing for the Victoria Cup? “No update from last week. It really depends on the restrictions. He’ll be ready to go if I can get in/out (of Melbourne) easily. We probably won’t decide until the last-minute,” McCarthy said.   By Adam Hamilton

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    The Thames harness racing community may be small, but they were going off on Sunday after The Last Gamble’s win in the White Star Stables Mobile Trot (2200m) at Cambridge Raceway. The Dale Moore-trained and driven mare is one of only three horses trained at the Thames Raceway and Moore was delighted to get another win representing the Coromandel township. “I have got her and a young unqualified trotter called Mont Blanc who is just about ready to go to the workouts,” he said. “Rachel Holmes is training one there, so there are only three horses trained out of Thames. “We are a small but friendly community.” The Last Gamble had been filling the minor placings this preparation and Moore believed the mobile start would be a major influence in Sunday’s result. “She has been knocking around, she’s just got a bit of a chink in her armour when it comes to those standing starts and she has lost so much ground in those races by not going away and yet she has still been weighing in. “The chance to run in a mobile was great, we have just been waiting for one of them.” Moore pushed the go button off the mobile, asking his charge to push forward early from her outside draw. While he attained the lead off race favourite Splitting Image, Dale soon handed up to Littlebitoflove to sit in the trail. The pair improved off the markers turning for home and ran away to a three-quarter length victory over Splitting Image, with a further 1-1/4 lengths back to Peannie in third. “I figured she would be tough enough if I had to use her a bit early. That was the plan to get her up there,” Moore said. “I knew that horse of Dylan’s (Ferguson, driver), Splitting Image, would be the one I would have to get around and when I got around her I thought I have got this cut and dried. “But then Jay (Abernethy, trainer-driver) comes and challenges and I had a little bit of a run with him, but he had the stick out and I thought I would ease and take a bit of a gamble and stay in behind him. “Luckily I was able to follow through and got the gap and ran up the straight. It all worked out perfectly. “We are just thrilled today.” Moore said he enjoys heading to Cambridge Raceway with his small team, but he hasn’t ruled out a trip to Alexandra Park for some mobile starts. “Coming to Cambridge is so easy, there is no traffic, and you can work on 1 hour 20 minutes to get here,” he said. “It is a lot more relaxed than heading to Auckland, although I have been waiting for Auckland to run some more mile mobiles.”

While punters might have struggled to believe American Dealer beat both Krug and It’s All About Faith in the first group one of the season at Alexandra Park last night, the really unbelievable story of the race was the driver. Because quite incredibly American Dealer’s win in the $140,000 Sires’ Stakes Final was David Butcher’s first group one driving success in New Zealand in nine years. Let that sink in. Butcher, one of the greats of the sulky, a member of the elite 2000 win club and on anybody’s list for being in top five reinspeople in the country, hadn’t won a group one here since Cowgirls N Indians in the Harness Jewels in June 2011. He had won one in the meantime in Australia, reigning King Of Swing to win a Breeders Crown in 2017 for American Dealer’s trainer Ray Green, who deserves most of the credit for Friday’s win. But to think Butcher hasn’t been in the group one winners circle in this country in almost a decade is truly remarkable. Butcher didn’t actually know that exact stat when reflecting after the race, but he knew it had been a while. “I reckon the last time I was driving group one winners back here was when Geoffrey (Small, trainer) was flying,” said Butcher. “So it is nice to get this one and behind a horse who tries so hard. He is a really good little professional,” says Butcher. That fact it had been so long between drinks for Butcher shows just how hard winning group ones is in New Zealand these days, with a reduced number of dominant stables, while Butcher has also had to battle back from a couple of serious injuries. “The body is good now, I am just getting old,” he laughs. His courage under fire early helped win the 1700m event as many would have been tempted to hand the lead to hot favourite Krug, especially when It’s All About Faith came charging mid race and the pressure really went on. But Butcher suits driving for Green because the Lincolns Farms team are never scared to be aggressive and roll the dice and this time it worked. Recently sold to US owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks, American Dealer has just kept improving and after this week’s Harness Millions will chase a unique Sires’ Stakes double inside two months by contesting the three-year-old series against basically the same horses. “I am very proud of him,” says Green. “He is a real little racehorse and he has a big season ahead of him.” While the draw may have won American Dealer the race his improvement curve and courage still suggest he is a Derby horse but whether he ever makes it to Australia this season will be interesting with Covid restrictions making hit and run missions on the Derbys there so much less palatable. While disappointed at being beaten driver Blair Orange was proud of Krug, who had to work hard enough early and then came three wide that he probably lost a winning advantage but he still had his chance to beat the leader. Its All About Faith was brave from the second line and can win the Millions with a draw to lead while the big improver in the race was B D Joe, who showed good gate speed to trail and stuck on well for fourth. Later in the night Bolt For Brilliance sent out out a reminder to southern stars Cracker Hill and Ultimate Stride that he will take a power of beating in next month’s delayed three-year-old trots at Alexandra Park. He recovered from getting into a horror spot with a lap to go to win the main trot with a 56.4 second last 800m three and four wide on the track, setting up some stunning age group races for the trotters next month. And Brent Mangos pulled off the training performance of the night in The Box Seat Returns Pace when South Coast Arden led throughout to beat Auckland Cup placegetter Triple Eight in the winner’s first start since March. He looks a bigger and stronger horse than last campaign and an open class horse in the making.   Michael Guerin

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Oamaru again today with a ten race program starting at 12:26pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Oamaru Oamaru  Saturday 20th  September 2020   Race 1 Mossdale Mac has been impressive at Addington racing and looks to have good winning claims in this field. Top selection.…… Art Collector tidy third three starts ago at Addington and forgive last start grass run. Can win if the favourite makes a mistake and paying good money.… Simply Shaz nice run last start in a strong field. Hard to beat here…….. Rockngoodtime stuck on ok last start and stable/driver combo have a good record. Include Selections:  Mossdale Mac (4),   Art Collector (7),   Simply Shaz (5),    Rockngoodtime (8)   Race 2 Sheza Mighty Monarch  manners not good but has been ok at trials. Good winning claims here if she trots all the way……. Pastrana has ability and likely to go forward early. Good place chance at nice odds in this field…… American Viking has been disappointing on raceday after a gallop in every race. Good winning claims here with no mistakes…… Ilsas Son has ability and coming in fresh. Could surprise in what is a tricky field Selections:  American Viking (6),   Pastrana (4),   Ilsas Son (11),   Sheza Mighty Monarch  (10)   Race 3 Manon The Run good second behind a nice horse here at the trials recently. Will go forward early and good winning chance at a juicy $19.00….. Loyalist been racing well at trials and forgive Methven run. Has to be a good chance here if he can clear the fence….. Hayden Bromac drawn well and has been running good races especially the last at Addington. Winning claims…. Von Art gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Form has been good and she is a winning chance. Selections:   Manon The Run (4),   Loyalist (10),   Hayden Bromac (1),   Von Art (3)   Race 4 Kerala Star top efforts at Addington from tricky draws and looks ready to go this week. Top winning chance….. Hot N Gold could get a cosy trip on the markers and has been finishing ok. Include at longer odds.. Booraa racing well against strong fields and should be hard to beat. Good draw a plus…. Surfers Delight Tidy at recent trials and stable have a good record with first starters. Will start favourite and can win Selections:   Kerala Star (1),   Surfers Delight (4),   Hot N Gold (12),   Booraa (3)   Race 5 Glenthorne draws in front of his toughest opposition. Will go forward in this field from the front row draw and can stick on for a placing…… Pro Surfer coming back after a long layoff. Watch the tote but has winning claims… Jenabella getting better with racing and has been unlucky. Can trouble the favourites if close enough on the home turn… Mighty Reactor tricky draw and will need luck. From a strike rate stable and can upset although place chances best. Selections:  Glenthorne (8),   Jenabella (5),   Mighty Reactor (10),   Pro Surfer (11)   Race 6 Jaguar Bay in top form and getting fitter. No reason he won’t be in the top three again here. Top selection….. Ali Lindenny getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… Tehoro Dazzle ok at Addington and stronger now. Might head forward early and could stick on for a place at decent odds.… My Moment's Now ran some good races last campaign and could surprise with manners. Needed Selections:  Jaguar Bay (11),   Ali Lindenny (4),   My Moment's Now (7),   Tehoro Dazzle (9)   Race 7 Mighty Looee good form last campaign in Auckland and is getting fitter. Looks a top prospect in this field and will be hard to beat.……. Makasar Boy going ok and gets an ok draw. Could surprise at good money.… Stavros The Terror has been going well in these junior driver events. Can win with a good run in transit ….. Bonny's Gem getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Stable respect but place chances look best. Selections:  Mighty Looee (6),   Stavros The Terror (5),  Makasar Boy (11),  Bonny's Gem (1)   Race 8 Get Lucky tidy run to place last start and getting fitter. Looks the one to beat here……. Sundons Flyer going well and track stats are good. Usually a good beginner and has winning claims here..… Superfast Lad good beginner and getting fitter and a top three finish looks on the cards if she goes forward early. Include….. Humble Ladd he won well last start but tough handicap to overcome. Could provide an upset if he trots away quickly from the stand. Selections:  Get Lucky (6),   Sundons Flyer (7),   Superfast Lad (2)    Humble Ladd (9)   Race 9 Classie Brigade huge run to win last start and draw suits. Can win again if he leads……. Tango Tara gets the front row ace draw and going well but a jump up in class. Can upset if they go hard all the way..… Robyns Playboy is in top form and has a huge motor. Could be a serious fight for the lead here and he can win if he can get to the front….. A G's White Socks forgive last start failure and he strikes a winnable race here. Include as classy when right Selections:  Classie Brigade (6),   Tango Tara (1),   A G's White Socks (9)    Robyns Playboy (2)   Race 10 Yossi in good form at workouts and small field helps. Should be very hard to roll here and top selection……. Miss Impression hardly ever out of the placings and this should be no different with a top four finish on the cards...… Gilligans Island conditions of the race suit and he has the top driver booked. Include in combinations….. Essence Of Easton great draw and forgive last start grass run. Should get a cosy run and he is a top four player in this field. Selections:  Yossi (9),   Gilligans Island (8),   Miss Impression (7)    Essence Of Easton (1)   Harnesslink Media

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Cambridge again today with a ten race program starting at 11:48am and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Cambridge  Sunday 20th  September 2020 Race 1 Quarterback  has been impressive here and looks to have good winning claims in this field. Top selection.…… Allonblack tidy third two starts ago and likely early leader. Can win if the favourite makes any mistakes and paying good money.… Highview Justice nice run last start in a similar field. Can place again here at big odds…….. Sunset Red tricky draw but stable/driver combo have a good record. Include Selections:  Quarterback  (12),   Allonblack (4),   Highview Justice (5),    Sunset Red (9)   Race 2 Demolition Man good second here last start. Good winning claims if he trots all the way……. Lexi T has ability and likely to go forward early. Top selection and he should be running first or second with manners…… Tarukenga has been disappointing on raceday but getting fitter. Place claims here with no mistakes…… Alana has ability and driver change here. Could surprise in what is a tricky field Selections:  Lexi T (4),   Demolition Man (5),   Tarukenga (6),   Alana (2)   Race 3 New Frontier Will go forward early and strikes a weaker field. Could stick on for a placing at good odds….. Carrera Lucia been racing ok off tricky draws and comes up with the ace draw. Has to be a good chance here with a run in the trail….. Patagonian Princess drawn for a fence run and has been running ok races . Place chance at huge odds…. Ideal Sports Girl tricky draw but in a winnable race. Could surprise at nice odds Selections:   Carrera Lucia (1),   New Frontier (2),   Ideal Sports Girl (6),   Patagonian Princess (11)   Race 4 The Last Gamble  has been running home late in his races and needs to get moving sooner. Chance if driver more aggressive….. Splitting Image could get a cosy trip from the draw and has been finishing ok. Good winning claims….. Griffins Hall mobile will suit and he has some ability. Good draw a plus…. Magnafique  manners have been letting him down but mobile helps. Can win if she brings her a-game Selections:   Splitting Image (4),   Griffins Hall (3),   Magnafique  (12),   The Last Gamble  (8)   Race 5 Jungle Gem change of stable and coming in fresh. Has ability and a good chance at longer odds…… Veneto disappointing last start but drawn well. Can atone at nice odds… Jimmy Richter forgive last start effort. Can trouble the favourites if close enough on the home turn… Chalberg tricky draw and will need luck. Good win last start and can upset although place chances best. Selections:  Jungle Gem (4),   Jimmy Richter (10),   Veneto (1),   Chalberg (13)   Race 6 Lady Be Good in top form and getting fitter. No reason she won’t be in the top three again here. Top selection from the mobile….. Expensive Crumpet getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… Lukyanova only fair at last start but stronger now and mobile and draw suits.  Place hopes at nice money.… Kimkar Dash ran some good races last campaign and drops out of stronger races. Should be hard to beat Selections:  Lady Be Good (3),   Kimkar Dash (14),   Expensive Crumpet (4),   Lukyanova (9)   Race 7 High Point good wins prior to last start failure. Back to the mobile will help and can win at good odds.……. Ace Strike going ok and gets an ok draw. Could surprise at good money but place chances look best.… About Turn has been going well in similar races. Can win with a good run in transit ….. American Me getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Should be thereabouts in this field Selections:  American Me (11),   About Turn 12),  Ace Strike (5),  High Point (7)   Race 8 Pull The Other Leg tidy run to win last start and getting fitter. Looks the one to beat here……. Dun It Bad going well and track stats are good. Big swing in draws but has place claims here …..Romanee good beginner and drawn to lead. A top three finish looks on the cards if he goes forward early. Include….. Pott Luck he has good form here and should get an ok run from the draw. Needed Selections:  Pull The Other Leg (11),   Romanee (3),   Dun It Bad (14)    Pott Luck (10)   Race 9 Down The Hatch huge run to win last start and draw suits. Can win again from the ace draw……. Bodrum Boy likely to get a good run from the draw. Can upset if they go hard all the way..… Tommy Tukaa has been plagued by bad draws. Has claims if he goes forward early….. Hugo George drops out of strong Auckland fields and he strikes a winnable race here. Include Selections:  Down The Hatch (1),   Tommy Tukaa (4),   Bodrum Boy (9)    Hugo George (2)   Race 10 Jack Irish galloped last start but drawn to lead. Should be very hard to roll here and top selection……. New York Minute hardly ever out of the placings and this should be no different with a top four finish on the cards...… The Banker has to overcome a tricky draw but big on ability. Include in combinations….. Fleeting Major got going too late last start but has a decent motor. Could place at nice odds if put in the race early. Selections:  Jack Irish (2),   The Banker (15),   Fleeting Major (13)    New York Minute (10)   Harnesslink Media