Day At The Track

By Jonny Turner    Series star Ultimate Sniper’s premium barrier 5 draw is set to produce early fireworks in Saturday’s Interdominion Pacing Championship final at Alexandra Park. The already slim chances of the All Stars pacer’s rivals beating him following his three jaw-dropping heat wins took a hit after Ultimate Sniper drew a nearly perfect starting spot for Saturday night’s final. The stocks of My Kiwi Mate (1), Sicario (2), Ashley Locaz (3) and On The Cards rose after they drew inside Ultimate Sniper on Sunday. Though that could depend on how desperate each of their drivers are to find the front with the hope of securing a perfect run by handing the lead to the favourite. My Kiwi Mate and driver Craig Demmler look to have first option on the lead from the inside. The Victorian pacer began quickly in his first two heats of the series, before being restrained at the start of this third. It will be no easy task for My Kiwi Mate to hold out On The Cards, who has shown blistering early speed to lead two heats. The Barry Purdon trained pacer crossed each of rivals in the two times he drew the front row in the heat stages. Sicario has shown enough gate speed in his career to suggest he could add early pressure to the race. However, the horse was easily beaten out of gate by On The Cards in their first round heat. Ashley Locaz looks the least likely of the horses drawn inside Ultimate Sniper to get involved in the early rush. The 5yr-old put in two tardy beginnings with a scratchy score up in his first two heats, before being restrained in heat 3. On his best behaviour, the All Stars pacer could at least keep pace with the fast beginners drawn beside him. Drivers who cast their mind back twelve months could enter the start of the race cautiously after early rush for the lead did not end well for those involved in last year’s final. Mach Doro ran second last after rushing to find the back of the leader, Tiger Tara. Ultimate Sniper enjoyed a major win over his key rivals with his barrier 5 draw. The 4yr-old is set to do less work to take up a handy position, with the crucial head start he will get over his stablemates Cruz Bromac and Thefixer. The All Stars pairing look to have been handed a huge task to have to work around the field to get in to the race and then beat their stunning stablemate. Cruz Bromac and Thefixer are likely to start beside each other, in barriers 2 and 3 on the second row, if emergency Classie Brigade is scratched. The fallout from the Interdominion Trotting Championship final was similar to that of the pacing final. All Stars favourite drew perfectly Winterfell drew perfectly in barrier 2 to cement his favouritism. The most likely scenario that could slam the door that appears to be left open for the 5yr-old to lead sits with driver Brad Williamson. Williamson will face the choice of whether to let Majestic Man show off his fast gate speed and attempt to cross from barrier 4. With another fast beginner drawn inside him, in Victorian Big Jack Hammer (1), it is an option the reinsman may chose not to take up. Winterfell and Majestic Man were the clear winners among the leading contenders in Saturday night’s $150,000 final. Marcoola landed a horror draw on the outside of the front row in barrier 8. Parmount King and Massive Metro will have to start from barriers 4 and 5 on the second row, respectively. Temporale is slightly better off than them, drawing behind Big Jack Hammer in barrier 9 – number 1 on the second row of the mobile. Interdominion Pacing Championship field: 1. My Kiwi Mate, 2. Sicario, 3. Ashley Locaz, 4. On The Cards, 5. Ultimate Sniper, 6. Mach Shard, 7. A G's White Socks, 8. Triple Eight, 9. Chase Auckland, 10. San Carlo 11. Cruz Bromac, 12. Classie Brigade E1, 13. Thefixer. Interdominion Trotting Championship field: 1. Big Jack Hammer, 2. Winterfell, 3. Destiny Jones, 4. Majestic Man, 5. Monty Python E1, 6. Valloria, 7. Bonnie Highlander, 8. Marcoola, 9. Temporale, 10. Habibi Inta, 11. Tough Monarch, 12. Paramount King, 13. Massive Metro. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Veteran trainer Fred Fletcher had a spring in his step on Monday morning after Mikey Maguire’s win in the Green Mile at Methven on Sunday. The Mach Three pacer is a horse bloodstock agents and Australian buyers have tried time after time to get their hands on. But, Fletcher and his wife, Fay, have resisted big money offers so they can have the enjoyment of the racing the 6yr-old. They got exactly that when Mikey Maguire came with a late finish along the passing lane for an upset win at $33 odds in the grass track feature for driver Colin deFilippi. “At my age I need something to get up in the morning for and he is the type of horse that will always give you 100%,” Fletcher said. “We were offered huge money for him and I don’t care if he never makes what we could have sold him for.” “We are in it for racing  - at my age there is no need to worry about what you are going to do next.” deFilippi pushed Mikey Maguire forward after a slowly retreating mobile gate left and he found the a spot for the horse in the one-one. The pair stayed there, until the reinsman found a run on the inner in the home turn for to zoom home to beat Nandolo and Heisenberg. “They are a couple of tough old campaigners he beat,” Fletcher said. “He was bolting around the top corner, but he didn’t have much racing room.” “It always looked like he was going to get there when he got out.” “It was a great drive - we stick with Colin a bit.” “He is a good driver and a good horseman, he wouldn’t have won so many races if he wasn’t.” Mikey Maguire helped Fletcher complete a matching set of Methven Green Mile trophies on Sunday. He won the Trotters Green Mile in 2014 with Royal Aspirations. The squaregaiter’s stock are the next thing Fletcher has to get excited about. He has three in his barn and they all look like stepping out this season as 2yr-olds. “At the moment we are concentrating on his young ones – we have three of them and they will all make 2yr-olds.” “We qualified two of them about three weeks ago at Ashburton and we have another filly that is up with those two, if not better.” “So, we will have three 2yr-old trotters racing this season.” Fletcher is hopeful his 2yr-olds can be flag flyers for his former, who stands at Phoebe Stud at Broadfields. “Whether these 2yr-olds are good enough, we don’t know yet, but I am hoping Royal Aspirations will be a sensation sire as a trotter.” “He is getting a lot more mares this year – and this is a hard mare for a stallion – his third season.” “If he gets away to a good start with these trotters this season he will be one of the more favoured trotting sires next breeding season at a real cheap price.” This year’s Trotters’ Green Mile was won by Heavyweight Hero in his first start since shifting south to Bob Butt’s Woodend Beach stable. The 6yr-old held out last year’s winner, Amaretto Sun, by a length for driver David Butt. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Three Aussie mates are responsible for a popular Australian priest realising a 69 year dream when Triple Eight starts in the Interdominion Pacing Championship final on Saturday. An undeniable passion for harness racing has seen highly popular Roman Catholic minister Brian Glasheen, of Victoria, spend an incredible seven decades following Australasian harness racing’s greatest test of stamina. Sixty nine years after attending his first Interdominion in Melbourne, Glasheen’s loyalty to the sport, his friends and his faith will be rewarded when his first Interdominion runner – Triple Eight - takes to Alexandra Park on Saturday night. Unlike at his first series in 1950, Glasheen will not be torn away from watching the series final. The Melbourne Showgrounds were no place for him back when Captain Sandy won and his father ruled he could not go back to watch the final, after attending each night of heats, for he fear the young Glasheen would be crushed by the masses that flocked to watch race Glasheen getting to see Triple Eight this year was as likely as him some how being on hand to see Captain Sandy’s pacing win 69 years ago until three of his Bacchus Marsh parishioners intervened. Just last winter, Glasheen had no connection to the pacer and had not even heard of him until fellow Victorians Shannon Nixon, Joel Watson and Shane Cook coaxed the octogenarian in to coming out for dinner. There, the trio presented Glasheen with ownership papers for the horse that will see his love of the Interdominions come full circle on Saturday night. The motivation for Nixon, Watson and Cook’s generosity was simple. Nixon said they wanted to do something for the man who had done so much for them. “Father Glasheen has had a big part in all of our lives.” “He has baptised all our nine children between us.” Triple Eight ran third behind the All Stars duo of Cruz Bromac and Thefixer to qualify for Saturday night’s $500,000 feature. It set off joyous scenes across the Tasman as Nixon, Watson and Cook watched on TV. As thrilled as they are to have an Interdominion finalist with their first runner, Nixon said the real joy came from having Father Glasheen on the journey with them. “The biggest source of joy for us is seeing how much it means to Father Glasheen.” “He is absolutely over the moon – he is messaging us five times a day – and he is just having a great time being over in New Zealand watching the horse.” “We are just getting a huge kick out of how much it means to him.” Father Glasheen will be able to walk in to Alexandra Park with relative anonymity compared to tracks in Australia. Glasheen is popular and widely known figure in both harness racing and thoroughbred circles across the Tasman. “Everyone in harness racing in Victoria knows him, he is very widely known in racing circles in Australia,” Nixon said. “He has followed every Interdominion around from the heady days of the sport and the Interdominion is the biggest show in harness racing, so he has met a lot of people.” Nixon secured Watson, Cook and Glasheen shares in Triple Eight after negotiating the purchase of a slice of the horse’s ownership from his North Island owners Stonewall Stud and Scott Plant. Triple Eight’s $101 odds suggest he needs divine intervention to win Saturday night’s race. Though just having a runner is a huge thrill for Glasheen, he admits barrier 8 gives his horse a huge task. “It is fantastic – absolutely special – but the barrier draw is not so special,” he told media at Monday’s barrier draw. What horses drawn in better spots do not have on their side is Father Glasheen’s proven winning touch. Glasheen blessed Northerly, at the request of trainer Fred Kersley, ahead of the horse’s 2001 Australian Cup win and during the galloper’s 13-win streak. The Triple Eight camp will hope Glasheen’s touch will work again when he blesses their horse ahead of the Interdominion Final. The priest did not keep all of his prayers just for his own runner and extended them to rival camps at Monday’s barrier draw. Glasheen blessed the colours to be worn by drivers in both the Interdominon pacing and trotting finals at yesterday’s barrier draw.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   Half-brothers win at Cambridge   It was no mean feat for the half-brothers The Lone Ranger and Cruzee Mach to win consecutive races at Cambridge Raceway last week.   The Lone Ranger, a six-year-old gelding by Sportswriter, won for the fifth time, while Cruzee Mach, a three-year-old Mach Three gelding, notched his maiden success.   Cruzee Lass, the dam of The Lone Ranger and Cruzee Mach, was a smart racemare in her own right, winning nine races, earning $99,544 and taking a mile record of 1:58.4. At the stud she has left eight individual winners – six inside 2:00 – from nine foals of racing age including Rocknroll Princess 1:54.6 ($94,153), Sweet Art (1:56.6) and Ace Strike, who won at Manawatu last Tuesday in 1:57.8.   By Christian Cullen, Cruzee Lass was out of the Holmes Hanover mare Shivna (1:57.2), the winning dam of the exported Freespin 1:52.2 ($253,744) and the Gloucester Park winner Cruzee Princess (1:57.4).   Shivna, who won the Great Northern Breeders Stakes at Auckland, was a half-sister to five winners including the Hannon Memorial winner Derby (1:58.1), being out of Anna Pavlova, by Armbro Del from the grand producing mare Coo Doo.   Other members of this family have been the NZ Derby winner Captain Peacock, Life Of Luxury (1:51), a Stakes winner in America, Extender (1:49.2), Moscow (Bunbury Cup), Elegant Christian (WA Western Gateway) and Shoobee Doo (NSW Tatlow).   The Lone Ranger winning at Cambridge     Inter Dominion lineups   Bettor’s Delight will be represented by five runners in the 12-horse field for next Saturday’s $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final.   The quintet are Ultimate Sniper, Thefixer, Ashley Locaz, On The Cards and My Kiwi Mate.   Mach Three is the only other sire with multiple representation – Mach Shard and San Carlo.   Five other stallions have a single runner.   In the trotters’ section, Majestic Son has three runners including the two leading pointscorers, Winterfell and Majestic Man. His third rep is Valloria.   Monarchy, Love You, The Pres and Muscle Mass all have two finalists, while Sundon has a single entrant, Marcoola.       Treble for Woodlands Stud   Woodlands Stud bred the first three winners on the third night of the Auckland Inter Dominion carnival in Some Do (Bettor’s Delight-Dream Offer) and the three-year-olds Need You Know (Bettor’s Delight-Lady Antebellum) and Copy That (American Ideal-Lively Nights).   Some Do winning at Alexandra Park     Country Cups King   A double winner on the Victorian Country Cups circuit this season is the Ballarat pacer Phoenix Prince, who is expected to be Grand Circuit material.   Only a six-year-old, he showed up last season as a five-year-old above average when he won twice in Free-for-all company at Melton.   Phoenix Prince                                                          photo by Stuart McCormick   Phoenix Prince is by a champion American pacer in Somebeachsomewhere from Classic Cathy, by Classic Garry from the broodmare gem Sans Pareil. This is the family that left a grand juvenile in Part Of Glory, a cups class pacer in Swishinon and an Oaks winning filly in Doug’s Courage.   The 10th foal and sixth winner of his dam, Phoenix Prince was bred by Bacchus Marsh enthusiasts Shannon and Meaghan Nixon, who part-own him.     Gabbana the top banana!   Gotta Go Gabbana, a grand looking Gotta Go Cullect mare, is rated Western Australia’s top female pacer this season, particularly after her success in the Group 1 $125,000 Westral Mares Classic, one of the season’s major feature races.                                                                                         -- photo by Jodie Hallows   She has now won 13 races with 19 placings from 49 starts for $228,614 in stakes.   In the Mares Classic, Gotta Go Gabbana was never really extended in running out the 2536 metres in a 1:57.3 rate, the last 800 in 56.1 and the final 400 in 27.5 – figures which she could have sharply improved.   She is a six-year-old by Gotta Go Cullect, a top colt pacer in NZ by Christian Cullen out of Elect To Live, a champion filly who won 19 races – five at Group 1 level – and a record $535,800.   On her dam’s side, Gotta Go Gabanna has a good deal in her favour than most. She is out of Lady Gabbana (2:02), a WA Sires Stake 2YO Final placegetter, by Kinney Hanover from Whitby’s Beachbabe, by Beach Towel from Whitby Bay, by Tarport Adios from Appro Bay.   Gotta Go Gabbana is the best winner from this family in recent years but in an earlier decade it produced a top flight youngster in Henry Te Whitby, who won nine races.     Noted family of trotters   Maorishadow, who has won four races this season including two at Melton, was bred in Victoria and is a member of Australia’s most successful family of trotters.   By Pegasus Spur, Maorishadow could well have distinguished herself as a pacer as her dam, Maoris Lass, was out of the Romeo Hanover mare Lauretta, who won as both a pacer and trotter.   Lauretta’s dam, Maori Mia, a daughter of leading pacing sire Kentucky, left five winners including the Group 1 winning square-gaiters Maori’s Glory ($109,366) and Maori Demon, and was the ancestress of top trotters Broke As Usual, Kyvalley Kyrie, Master Maori, Vincennes, Kinvara Sue and others.   Maori Mia, who was only lightly raced, was out of Maori Miss, a dual-gaited mare who left eight individual winners including the legendary Maori’s Idol and was awarded Broodmare of the Year on three occasions.     Bettor’s Delight trifecta   The Group 3 Northern Breeders Stakes, run at Auckland, was a triumph for Bettor’s Delight as the sire of the first three placegetters, Belle Of Montana 1 st , Wainui Creek 2 nd and Bettor’s Heart 3 rd – rather a notable siring feat.     Bettor’s Delight was also the sire of the dam of the fourth placegetter, Havtime.     Tiffany Rose is classics material   The New Zealand bred filly Tiffany Rose is proving herself a smart three-year-old – she is unbeaten in four starts on Australian soil – and could develop into one of the best her age this season.   A filly by Somebeachsomewhere, Tiffany Rose ranks as a half-sister to a top flight pacer in Code Black 1:50.8 ($338,235), who ran a close third in the Cranbourne Cup last Saturday, the exported Lovin Miss Daisy 1:50.4 ($199,695) and Nakuru (1:55.2), a winner of three races in NZ to date.   Their dam, Christian Watch, who was only lightly raced, was by Falcon Seelster from the Christian Cullen mare Turkana 1:58.3 ($112,148), whose six successes included the 2004 Queensland Oaks and the Nevele R DB Filly Series. At the stud Turkana became the dam of four winners – three in 2:00 – headed up by the recent NSW provincial winner Dark Side 1:57.6 ($93,554).   Turkana was out of Kisumu, a NZ Sires Stakes 2YO champion by Nero’s B B from Kinshasha, by Armbro Del from Hindu Star, a daughter of the NZ Oaks winner Petro Star.   Bred by Graeme Iggo, Tiffany Rose looks a three-year-old with the potential one would expect of her breeding.     First winner for Franco Jamar   Franco Jamar, a well performed Courage Under Fire horse from a strong NZ family, and who is standing in Bridgetown (WA), was represented by his first winner in the three-year-old gelding Keptain Courageous.   The gelding had been placed in five of his previous eight starts. Franco Jamar has only eight foals of racing age.   Franco Jamar         -- James Jubb photo   Keptain Courageous is the fourth foal of his dam, Switch Me On (2:01.9), a Safely Kept half- sister to the prolific Gloucester Park winner Black As Knight (1:58).     Last foal of Our Sir Vancelot   The six-year-old Pensare Princess, who notched her second win at Wagga, is the last foal of the triple Inter Dominion champion Our Sir Vancelot.   The mare was bred and is raced by the Junee-based Allamby family who owned Our Sir Vancelot throughout his stellar racetrack career.   Pensare, the dam of Pensare Princess, is a granddaughter of champion racemare Sabilize, who twice won the NSW Ladyship Mile and was twice placed in the Miracle Mile.   Our Sir Vancelot, who died in 2017, sired 244 individual winners and almost $11 million inprogeny earnings.         By Peter Wharton

By Garrick Knight    Cam Hart is reveling in the glory of a perfect start to this year’s Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship. The New South Wales representative, from Sydney, added to Saturday night’s first heat win at Addington with two more at Sunday’s grass track meeting in Methven. Accordingly, he has more than double the points of his nearest rival, defending champion Sheree Tomlinson. Tomlinson and her three fellow kiwis are in positions two through four on the points ladder, while Hart’s comrades from across the ditch are languishing at the bottom of the table. Hart did have the benefit of a couple of well-fancied drives at Methven, but still had to get the job done in what was his first experience driving on a grass surface. “Having a bit of luck makes a difference and I was lucky enough to draw a couple of nice horses today. “It was a good experience, my first time on the grass. “It was quite a nice track – smoother than I expected.” Refine won from the front in heat 2, but Beau Major had to be the best horse in the race after sitting parked throughout. “He gave me a really good feel. He’s a tough horse with change-up speed. “When I asked him to go, he found the line well. “It was a really impressive win and I think he’ll go on to do a good job.” Being so far in front is a luxurious position for Hart, but not one he is taking for granted. “I won’t think too much in to it. “I just have to go out there with a clear mind and drive the races the way I always would. “They’re all good drivers and with a bit of luck, they could catch me, especially the Kiwis.” The series moves to Manawatu on Tuesday and Thursday now and a glut of nominations will see a bonus race for the series on Tuesday as there were enough to cart three heats rather than the planned two. It also gives his opponents an extra chance to bridge the gap on him. Hart has drawn three horses in Our Wicklow, Brooke’s Image and Scelta Uno that are all capable of finishing in the money so he’s a live chance of holding his lead. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the fields yet, but I plan on doing it tomorrow on the trip up.” Hart works for Shane Sanderson at Menangle so is used to the hustle and bustle of hard mile racing. Longer trips and a more sedate tempo is something uncommon to him. “We have the 2300-metre start at Menangle but it’s mainly mile racing. “You get a bit more of a breather over here, I’ve noticed. “In Aussie, especially in Sydney, if you try and have a quiet quarter in front you’ll get taken on.” Hart is looking forward to the series’ final night, in Auckland on Friday, the night before the Inter Dominion Grand Finals. “It’s been good coming over here and driving on the grass on a big track, and I can’t wait to get up to Alexandra Park and race the ‘other’ way, too.” Points after 3 heats: Cam Hart (NSW) 50; Sheree Tomlinson (Def. Champ) 23; John Morrison (SI) 22; Sarah O’Reilly (NZ Champ) 21; Benjamin Butcher (NI) 18; Matt Elkins (Qld) 18; Corey Peterson (WA) 15; Brodie Webster (SA) 13; Conor Crook (Tas) 7; Zac Phillips (Vic) 6. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Champion pacer Lazarus has already more than 250 confirmed bookings from Australia and New Zealand breeders for his first 'down under' season at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga. The dual NZ harness racing Horse of the Year served 136 mares in his initial season in New Jersey earlier this year. Former Canadian 2YO of the Year Warrawee Needy, whose first Australian crop of two-year-olds have impressed leading trainers, received an unexpected boost from North America recently. Astrmowin, the dam of the smart two-year-old Noch Ten (1:55), is to be sent to Australia next year to be served by Warrawee Needy and the resultant progeny will race in this country. On the subject of North America, the outstanding TINTIN IN AMERICA mare Shartin was ranked No 1 in the Hambletonian Society and Breeders Crown poll for 2019. She earned $982,177 from 15 wins and three seconds in 19 starts. Million Dollar Cam's exciting four-year-old son Hudsen chalked up his third success on end and his fourth from five outings this season when he came from last to win at Bendigo, rating 1:56.4 over 2150 metres. Our Millionaire, another of Million Dollar Cam's four-year-old crop, completed his fourth win on end at the Cranbourne Cup meeting. Hudsen and Our Millionaire were both bred by Yirribee Pacing Stud. Other stud-sired winners for the week were the three-year-old Fornaroli (by Caribbean Blaster) and Olympic Gem (by Million Dollar Cam) who both registered their first victories at Bathurst and Wagga respectively.   By Peter Wharton

THE Inter Dominion Queen is about to join the Inter Dominion King. Victory for Natalie Rasmussen on raging hot favourite Ultimate Sniper will bring her level with Brian Hancock as the most successful driver in the history of the Inter Dominion pacing final. Hancock won five finals and Rasmussen already boasts four, all on the great Blacks A Fake. Ultimate Sniper is an odds-on favourite to give her a fifth win next Saturday. And Hancock will be cheering loudly for Rasmussen. “You bet I’m in her corner,” Hancock said from his home near Wollongong. “Records are made to be broken, or in this case, equalled. “Nat’s a really good friend of mine. She and Vi (Hancock’s partner) are great mates, they talk all the time. I’d love to see her win another final this week.” Hancock said he spoke with Rasmussen during the week. “I did have to remind her the other day, even if she does win this, I’m still ahead of her … I won my five finals on three different horses, Nat will only have done it on two,” he laughed. Hancock, long retired from driving, still educates horses for a few trainers, including his nephew Darren Hancock. And he said he’s been watching the Auckland series with interest. “They’ve really dominated it, haven’t they, Nat and Mark. But it’s been great to see Barry (Purdon’s) horses all going so well, too,” Hancock said. “I’ve got so many great Inter Dominion memories and the Purdon family have been such a big part of them.” Mark Purdon held the combined record for Inter Dominion final driving wins, three pacing and three trotting. He’s odds-on to add to that with Winterfell in Saturday’s trotting final and drives second favourite Cruz Bromac in the pacing final. Purdon already stands alone with seven Inter Dominion titles (two pacing and five trotting) as a trainer. With Winterfell in the trotting final and five runners, headed by Ultimate Sniper in the pacing final, he looks certain to add to that on Saturday. Two of Purdon’s training wins came in partnership with Grant Payne with I Can Doosit in 2011 and ’12. Now he’s got a chance to add to that in partnership with Rasmussen across both finals on Saturday.   Adam Hamilton

FRESH from capping a truly remarkable comeback, Jodi Quinlan will happily watch the Auckland Inter Dominion pacing final from the sidelines. Quinlan said her hardest decision was whether to fly from Melbourne to Auckland to watch My Kiwi Mate in the race, not whether to take the reins herself. “There was a bit of talk between Craig (Demmler) and I at times about who’d drive him in the final, but there’s no way I am,” Quinlan laughed. “I might have won about 10 races on him, but he’s Craig’s pet. He can do no wrong in Craig’s eyes, so I’d be on a hiding to nothing.” Quinlan said she’d been overwhelmed by texts, calls and well-wishers after her pick-up drive win aboard Phoenix Prince for trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin in last night’s (Saturday) Group 2 Cranbourne Cup. “I’ve got Craig to thank for that one,” she revealed. “Clayton couldn’t find me and rang Craig asking if I’d drive the horse. Craig accepted the drive for me. “I wasn’t that keen to be honest, just because I’m not really as fit as I’d like. It’s taking a while for my body to come around again after the injuries.” Quinlan was kicked in the side by a horse on Christmas Eve, last year, leaving her with spinal fractures and a lacerated kidney. It’s been a long and still ongoing road to recovery. “It certainly made last night extra special, especially all the people who’ve contacted me since. And the reception I came back to straight after the race was amazing,” she said. Quinlan said she will “probably” head to Auckland to watch the final: “I need to sit down and have a look at what horses we have racing where and if I can make it happen. I should.” Like Quinlan, My Kiwi Mate has overcome extreme adversity to make it back. “He’s broken down twice, the last time he fractured his pastern and got three screws in it,” she said. “With all that in mind, it was a big call for Craig to take him across, but he’s made the final and now drawn well, too. “I hope he can land three pegs. I thought he paced as rough as guts on the second night and was worried about him, but then his run last Friday was about as good as he’s ever gone I reckon.” For Demmler, this will be his fourth drive in an Inter Dominion final. He went mighty close when Breenys Fella stormed home for second to Shakamaker in 2000. His other two drives were eighth on Breenys Fella in Auckland in 1999 and ninth on In Monaco in 2009. Demmler’s champion father, Ted, drove in 12 finals with thirds on pacer Pure Steel (1980) and trotter Highly Likely (1990) being his best results.   Adam Hamilton

Driver Natalie Rasmussen says she can’t see hot favourite Ultimate Sniper getting to his favourite position in Saturday’s $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final at Alexandra Park. So she will take the next best option: being in front. The four-year-old has been unbeaten in the three rounds of heats and is $1.45 to win the final after drawing barrier five. His draw is made even better by his key rivals, many of them stablemates, drawing worse, with A G’s White Socks at barrier seven and Chase Auckland (9), Cruz Bromac (11) and Thefixer (13) all on the second line. After being trapped three wide in every heat of the series and still being too strong, Ultimate Sniper will be expected to stroll to the front after the early shuffling of positions and win. But Rasmussen, who also co-trains Ultimate Sniper, says he would probably be better sitting parked. “I know that sounds strange but sometimes he doesn’t concentrate quite so well in front,” says Rasmussen. “He is still good there but he really loves staring horse down from parked, as we have seen when he has been wide during this series.”So why not just sit parked with the hot favourite, as crazy as that sounds with Rasmussen and everybody else expecting the lead to be there? “I don’t know any of the other drivers in the front line are going to want him outside them staring them down,” she says matter-of-factly. A reluctant outside leading when they would rather have Ultimate Sniper’s back could mean a slower mid-race tempo which would bring the outsiders into the race and allow the likes of Cruz Bromac and Thefixer to creep closer three wide. So with one stablemate in Ashley Locaz and three outsiders rated $51 or longer drawn inside her, Rasmussen should only have to hold A G’s White Socks to her outside at the start and she probably ends up in front, with On The Cards and My Kiwi Mate the most likely followers. Rasmussen says all five of the All Stars pacing finalists have come through their busy week of heats in great order as well as trotting final favourite Winterfell. “We couldn’t be happier with how they have handled it and if anything they look like the series has brought them on,” she said. “They are likely to have their final fast work on Wednesday.”With Rasmussen on Ultimate Sniper and Mark Purdon sticking with Cruz Bromac, Blair Orange has picked up the drive on Thefixer, Tim Williams stays on Chase Auckland but no driver has been confirmed yet for Ashley Locaz. The stable has two odds-on final favourites with Winterfell $1.90 to win the trotting final after drawing perfectly at barrier two. He looked far more settled and happier winning his heat in national record time on Friday and while he is still not foolproof, Rasmussen says the big trotter has thrilled Purdon with his improvement in this series. It may not be a case of Winterfell simply strolling to the lead and on to the winner’s circle though, with Majestic Man drawn barrier four and with superior gate speed and therefore the likely early leader is driver Brad Williamson desires. But with Paramount King, Tough Monarch, Massive Metro and Marcoola all drawn to settle back the trotting final looks certain to contain plenty of movement. PACING FINAL, $500,000, 2700m mobile 1: My Kiwi Mate 2: Sicario 3: Ashley Locaz 4: On The Cards 5: Ultimate Sniper 6: Mach Shard 7: A G’s White Socks 8: Triple Eight 9: Chase Auckland (2nd line) 10: San Carlo 11: Cruz Bromac 12: Classie Brigade (em) 13: Thefixer   TROTTING FINAL $150,000, 2700m mobile 1: Big Jack Hammer 2: Winterfell 3: Destiny Jones 4: Majestic Man 5: Monty Python (em) 6: Valloria 7: Bonnie Highlander 8: Marcoola 9: Temporale (2nd line) 10: Habibi Inta 11: Tough Monarch 12: Paramount King 13: Massive Metro   Michael Guerin

Today we saw the second and third heats of the 2019 Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship which were run at Mt Harding Raceway in Methven. The first heat was won by Cameron Hart who drove Refine to victory for John McDermott. Cameron was also successful in the second heat on the Grant McStay trained Beau Major. “It was a good experience driving on the grass for the first time, I was lucky enough to draw a couple of nice horses and they both raced well and we were able to get the job done” said Hart. Sheree Tomlinson finishes the day in second place after a good placing in the second heat today and John Morrison is currently in third. On Tuesday we head to Manawatu Raceway in Palmerston North for the next three heats of the championship.   Please see below the standings as of today.   Cam Hart NSW 50 Sheree Tomlinson NZ 23 John Morrison NZ 22 Sarah O’Reilly NZ 21 Benjamin Butcher NZ 18 Matt Elkins QLD 18 Corey Peterson WA 15 Brodie Webster SA 13 Conor Crook TAS 7 Zac Phillips VIC 6   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Pacing & Trotting (with confirmed barrier draws) The following lists here shows the confirmed Grand Final fields (including confirmed barrier draws) for both the Pacing & Trotting IRT ID19 Series, to be held at Alexandra Park on Saturday 14th December 2019.   Harness Racing New Zealand

Hardly a Southern race day goes by without the presence of prominent owners Lindsay and Ian Thomson being on course to watch one of their horses win. But wedding bells in Dunedin kept them away today at Ascot Park. Their absence didn’t halt their run of success though,  as two horses they own won today: Lawrence and Kilowatt Kid. The brothers were attending their nephew Matthew Leckie’s wedding in Dunedin. “They weren’t too happy the wedding was on the same day as the races (laughter) but they asked their other nephew if he could bring it up on his phone so they could watch it while the wedding was on,” said trainer Alister Black. Shadow Play gelding Lawrence was their first winner. He was favourite in the R50-R60 rating mobile pace on the back of his run for second on Show Day at Addington in the South of the Waitaki Pace. “I thought he’d be hard to beat today but with racing you never know.”  The five year old had nearly a year away from racing, after he broke down when running second to Please Shuddup at Gore in October 2018. “Thanks to Southern Vets and Vet South and all the work they’ve done with the horse. Because it wasn’t looking too good for a while.” The recovery has been a slow process and the horse has noticeably returned to racing a much bigger and stronger proposition. “He’s done a power of work. He probably did five months work before he went to the races and he’s still as big as a bull.” The win today, at the hands of regular pilot Brad Williamson was his fourth from just sixteen starts. “He’s in that Country Cup grade now and as you know you have to wait your turn in that grade.” Later in the day Kilowatt Kid also won for the Thomson, Black and Williamson combination. It took the whole length of the straight for him to get past pacemaker Parama, but he eventually won by a nose. Williamson was in great form at today’s meeting, getting home long shot trotter Dream Of Pat. Her form was full of zeros but today after a daring drive by Williamson the seven year old Great Success mare held on to beat favourite Galleon’s Future. While most of the field was in bother at some point Williamson took the thirty nine start veteran maidener to the lead and opened up plenty of holes in the field before holding on to win by a head. Dream Of Pat (2) holding out Galleons Future                             -Photo Bruce Stewart Trained at Omakau by Ginger Woodhouse, Dream Of Pat was his first winner since Lucky Pat’s Son won at Forbury Park in November 2016. In the Junior Drivers feature Major Watson proved too strong for the six other rivals. The Art Major gelding, owned by Ben and Karen Calder and trainer Nathan Williamson was too smart, winning by a length and a quarter. After sitting back driver Mark Hurrell shot the four year old forward with 900 metres to run, cruising easily to the lead. He held on to beat Magnetic Watch by a length and a quarter. When favourite Flash Party was checked at the start in the Gold Ace at Nevele R Stud Mobile Pace the race was left wide open for the other runners including the Brett Gray trained Bettors Highlight. Driver Ellie Barron tucked the Bettors Delight mare away on the inside running line, trailing early pacemaker Bettor Galleon. Vintage Rose then shot round the field with 1500 metres to run and looked to have the race in safe keeping but Barron got Bettors Highlight out in between tiring runners Bettors Galleon and Calico Hill, and set out chasing Vintage Rose which had shot away by eight lengths. Bettors Highlight came stoutly up the inside to win by a neck. It was the mare’s second win in twelve starts.   Bruce Stewart

First season trainer Jessie Alford has a bit on. He and partner Josie Reid are expecting their first child next month, he’s training the only horse in his stable Held To Ransom, and is starting a new job with Woodend Beach trainer Matt Purvis. Things are just busy enough. Alford freely admits he gets nervous when Held To Ransom starts at the races but he need not have worried today at Ascot Park, because the Live Or Die mare won easily in the hands of Brad Williamson. Williamson got the five year old mare in the one one early with Bella Sara making the pace. Held To Ransom was travelling nicely throughout and once balanced up in the home straight she went down to the finishing line to easily win by a length and a half from Folklore. The win was the mare’s third in a row. “I’ve only had her for about six weeks. She needs the beach. She was probably going to go back to Regan Todd’s. I asked if I could buy her. She’s a family horse who just swims instead of jogging, she just loves the beach,” said Alford after the win. Alford hadn’t had any background in harness racing until former Southland trainer/driver,  but Jonny Cox got him involved. “Coxey got me into it. I was helping him out a few years ago and we became friends. I got sick of my office job (selling survey and building equipment) so I thought stuff it, I’ll do something I like. I took a bit of a pay cut and worked for Michael House and Andrew Stuart, whose been really good to me, and I’m about to go to the beach and work for Matt.” Held To Ransom was previously trained by Stuart who managed to get a number of placings out of the mare, but missed out on that elusive win. Alford also holds a junior driver’s license but after driving Held To Ransom a number of times he says he now prefers to hand the reins to other drivers. “For some reason I just don’t drive her that well so I just let other people do it. I’d like to keep her but I’ve got a baby girl on the way in late January. This will help get her a few extra treats which is good.” Brad Williamson with Jessie Alford and Held To Ransom              -photo by Bruce Stewart The win capped off a stellar day for Brad Williamson who won three  of the races  on the ten race card. Brother Nathan also won a race, driving Revitalise for good stable client Neville Cleaver who bought the diminutive Bettors Delight gelding at the sales for $15,000. He received a nice trail and was too good, beating Glenledi Captain by two and half lengths.   Bruce Stewart

Tonight saw the first heat of the 27th edition of the 2019 Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship. Held at Addington Raceway, Cameron Hart was successful in the heat with Sugar Cane trained by Doug McCormick. "It was a big thrill to be at Addington, the mare raced really well and we were lucky enough to have a good trip" said Hart after the race. Tomorrow the championship heads to Mt Harding Raceway for two more heats before heading North to Manawatu. Please see below the standings as of tonight.    Cameron Hart - 17 Sarah O'Reilly - 12 John Morrison - 9 Brodie Webster - 7 Sheree Tomlinson - 6 Benjamin Butcher - 5 Corey Peterson - 4 Zac Phillips -3 Conor Crook - 2 Matt Elkins - 1   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

By Jonny Turner    Talented trotter Heavyweight Hero will do a U-turn to resume his stop-start career in the Trotter’s Green Mile at Methven on Sunday. Switching directions has been the motivator for the 6yr-old’s part owner and former trainer, Todd McFarlane, sending the horse to Bob Butt’s Woodend Beach stable. Heavyweight Hero’s problem hooves have been the difference between the trotter showing flashes of brilliance, rather than consistently good form, during his off and on 20 start career. The Muscle Mass trotter’s move south to Butt’s stable has been a case of McFarlane coming up with a cunning plan to work around Heavyweight Hero’s troublesome toes. “Todd had brought him back up at home and had him going pretty good,” Butt said. “But, he has still had a lot of trouble with his feet and he was finding that he was trotting much better left handed than right handed because of it.” “So, he gave me a call out of the blue, to see if I he could send him to me and get some left handed racing in to him.” Heavyweight Hero arrived at Woodend Beach only a matter of days ahead of Sunday’s feature 1609m trot. In that short time, he has impressed his new trainer. “I really like him, he feels like a really nice trotter.” “I definitely think he will win races down here and do a good job.” “Todd said he could have a trial once he got down here, but I saw this race coming up and I thought it could suit him - with a lot of the good trotters away up north.” Heavyweight Hero showed off his trotting talent at the Pukekohe trials before heading south. He impressed when beat rising star Tickle Me Pink in a 2500m trial. That form was franked when the runner-up went a big race when resuming at Alexandra Park off a huge 40m handicap. The trial and his work since arriving gives Butt hope Heavyweight Hero be highly competitive in a field largely made up of race hardened trotters. “His trial up north was pretty good and Todd has done a lot of work with him, so he should be pretty competitive on Sunday,” Butt said. “I took him to work on the grass on Monday and he was really good, so that shouldn’t be a problem, either.” Defending Trotters’ Green Mile champion, Amaretto Sun, is amongst Sunday’s line up. The Ken Ford trained squaregaiter goes in to this year’s edition in similar circumstances to last year. Amaretto Sun disappointed during last year’s New Zealand Cup Carnival, before bursting back in to life in the Methven feature. The Ford stable will be hoping he can do the same this year. Other race contenders will attempt to continue their strong New Zealand Cup week form on Sunday. They include Ruthless Kayla, Globe Trekker and Overzealous. A G’s White Socks being away for his brilliant Interdominion campaign means he will not be able to win his third consecutive Pacers’ Green Mile at Methven on Sunday. Trainers Greg and Nina Hope have four runners in the 1609m feature that could see them secure a hat-trick of training wins in the race. Their team is made up of Vinnie Rulz, Three Ideas, Homebush Lad and Kendra.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Winterfell earned himself favouritism for next Saturday’s $150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final with a dominant New Zealand record win on the third and final night of heats at Alexandra Park. In the hands of co-trainer Mark Purdon, the rangy square-gaiter had too much power for a key rivals Majestic Man and Massive Metro after leading over the 2700-metre journey. It’s been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes from the horse that had earned the distrust of punters through the spring. “He’s picked it all up now and we’re starting to work together, which is a big help,” said Purdon post-race. “I said to Nat (Rasmussen) during the week that he’s almost turned the corner. “He enjoyed bowling around in front and felt good. “He likes this way around and has settled down a lot. He seems a really happy horse at the moment.” His Canterbury breeder and owner, Trevor Casey, was on course to celebrate and was at pains to say how it was just a matter of patience. “It’s always a pleasure to win a race, but to win an Inter Dominion heat – two of them – incredible. “He’s only had 23 starts and only really stepped up to open company this year. “They can win at age group level, but they still need the ringcraft to hit the top grade.” That’s something Winterfell clearly didn’t have. “He did get really keen and he used to hit the cart as well. “We’ve got to have a really long cart on him because he’s got such a long stride. “But Mark said Tuesday night was the best he’s ever settled.” Winterfell continues a brilliant production run for his dam, Una Bromac. “It gives me so much satisfaction because is out of a pacing bred mare that trotted called Una Bromac. “She used to whack a knee and nobody wanted her so I bred from her. “The first one she bred, Harley, was 18 hands, but she’s left four open class trotters after that, including Escapee and Needle.” Casey has sold Una Bromac now “because I had that many trotters, was about to breed from Escapee and it was time to move on an older mare.” Massive Metro, who trailed, fought on well enough for second but never looked like threatening the winner down the straight, while Majestic Man ran third after sitting parked. In the night’s earlier heat, Temporale went back-to-back with another front-running win for Tony Herlihy and trainers, Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis. It was arguably the stronger of the two heats, but went over three seconds slower than the other one thanks to no mid-race pressure on Temporale. Paramount King finished on nicely for second in a sprint home, narrowly ahead of the Australian, Tough Monarch, and Marcoola, who rushed home out wide after going rough when wide on the final bend. Inter Dominion Final field: Winterfell ($3), Majestic Man ($3.40), Marcoola ($4.80), Temporale ($7), Massive Metro ($8.50), Paramount King ($11), Habibi Inta ($18), Tough Monarch ($26), Big Jack Hammer ($41), Destiny Jones ($81), Bonnie Highlander ($101), Valloria ($101). The emergency is Monty Python ($151). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ