Day At The Track

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    Junior driver Ellie Barron’s hoping a change of scene will equate to a chance of luck, with the Southlander moving north for a short stint at Mark Jones’ Burnham stables. “I was just keen to learn a bit more, especially for a stable that’s always supportive of junior drivers.” On Sunday at Addington she will team up with his trotter Kowhai Sundown as she tries to secure her first driving success since winning in Invercargill on March 1. That followed four winners in February. “I felt like I was on a bit of a roll before Covid ….” Barron has had the odd spell in Canterbury before, working for her uncle Ken Barron. This time she’s staying with him  - “we’re flatmates” -  and working at Jones’ Overport Lodge just down the road. Barron’s best known for her quick actions that saved fellow driver Ricky May’s life after he collapsed during the Central Otago Cup at Omakau in January.  A trained physiotherapist she performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived.   Just how long she’ll be in Canterbury is uncertain. She says it’s just “for the time being” with the likely scenario she’ll return south in the spring. “All of dad’s (Clark Barron) horses have been turned out but by the end of September/October they will be ready to rumble.” In the meantime she’s looking forward to driving some of Jones’ horses, the likes of Burnham Boy, Plutonium Lady, Lulu Le Mans and Willison. But firstly it’s Kowhai Sundown, a winner two starts back for Sam Ottley, before a seventh last Sunday.   “He was just too far off them last start, he’s back to mobile on Sunday” He has won from a mobile before, by four lengths, though it was two years ago  ( 2018 Haras des Trotteurs 2YO trot silver). And another junior driver Mikayla Lewis has also moved stables. She’s linked up with Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen and the rest of the powerful All Stars team at Rolleston.  She’s driven 10 winners since her first in 2018, with the bulk of them for Ashburton trainer Brent White. “Brent got me started in the driving ranks and we did quite well but I needed to look closer to Christchurch. One night we were out socially with Mark and Natalie and Nat said that if a position became available they would be interested if I was and here I am” Lewis’ partner is Nathan Purdon (Mark’s son) who trains in partnership with Cran Dalgety at West Melton. While working at the stables and driving at the trials is her immediate priority, she could well don the stable’s famous colours for the first time on raceday in the new season.

You know when driving legend Tony Herlihy launches one from last like he did at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night it must have a motor. So remember the name Prince Of Pleasure because that motor is going to take him far. The three-year-old scored a quite stunning win in a strong maiden race to open the card, breaking 55 seconds for his last 800m, part of it three wide. The 2200m maiden even had looked relatively standard until he got involved, with Marathon Man leading and giving favourite punters every reason to feel confident. But when Herlihy gave Prince Of Pleasure his head from last at the 800m his response was instantaneous. He roared straight past his rivals and then held Marathon Man at bay up the straight even though the latter had last-start race fitness on his side. The normally conservative Herlihy was all smiles after the race, knowing this won’t be the last time Prince Of Pleasure comes back to the winner’s circle at Alexandra Park. “He is pretty smart,” said Herlihy, which verges on decent praise from the master. “I liked him last year and he finished fifth in a good Sires’ Stakes heat at Cambridge against Copy That and Line Up. “But he has strengthened up this time in, which you saw in the last 100m tonight.” With all the feature three-year-old races gone, Prince Of Pleasure will be allowed to work his way through the grades but he looks a five-win horse without even having to improve. “He has some breeding on his side and his owners have been patient with him and they are getting the rewards now.” Prince Of Pleasure wasn’t the only reason Herlihy had to smile on Wednesday night as open class trotting mare Kenny’s Dream produced a classy return in the main trot. She looked the winner when she loomed up to Tricky Ric at the top of the straight but having not raced since March found her out and she went down fighting, impressive stuff considering she gave the race fit winner a 30m start. “That was good effort, especially as Tricky Ric is a nice trotter off that mark.” Tricky Ric’s win was no shock as he got into the race off the same handicap as last start with trainers John and Josh Dickie having used a claiming driver in Craig Smith for his last start win. As befits a horse who went within a nose of winning the Jewels last season, he looks headed for open class.   Michael Guerin

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Pukekohe trainer Ray Green was dealt a mixed hand at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night. While promising colt American Dealer won the Dawson Harford Mobile Pace (2200m), two of his runners went amiss. American Dealer’s stablemate and race rival Man Of Action looked to have the race sewn up when he kicked clear by a length at the top of the straight, however, he lost all chance when breaking with 200m to go. Later on the card Group One performer Copy That over-raced during the McMurty Farms Handicap Pace (2700m) and was eventually pulled up by driver Maurice McKendry. Trainer Barry Purdon took out the quinella in the race with back marker On The Cards and promising pacer Major Jellis. Green was philosophical about the night and said both Copy That and Man Of Action took no ill-effects from their runs. “Man Of Action should have won, he was well clear, but he just lost concentration halfway up the straight and had a gallop,” he said. “Copy That started hitting the wheels and foot rests with his back feet when he (Maurice McKendry, driver) tried to get him back in behind. “He flipped out and he was off. He did the big bolt and Maurice did the right thing and pulled him up. “There is nothing wrong with the horse, he is 100 percent and pulled up beautifully.” Green was pleased with American Dealer’s winning efforts, with the son of American Ideal now boasting a record of two wins from just three starts. His only unplaced run came in the Gr.1 Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) in March where he finished fourth behind Krug. “It was very good considering it was his first run for quite a while,” Green said. “I was pretty happy with him, he is a little tradesman. “I thought he was probably our best chance of winning the race. “It is our first run in a while and the trials were good, but a trial is a trial, and a race is a race. “You really don’t know where you are at until you put them out there. He went quite well.”

Don’t be put off by star young trotter Ultimate Stride having never had a standing start in New Zealand just because he faces one at Invercargill today. Because trainer Phil Williamson is adamant it won’t be a problem. Ultimate Stride (Race 11, 4.35pm) takes on not only older horses but that standing start but trainer Phil Williamson says neither factor concerns him. “He has beautiful manners so I’d be stunned if he galloped from the standing start,” says Williamson. “Being a big field there is always the chance being off 20m they can have traffic problems but on the whole he should be too good for them.” The high-priced yearling purchase, Ultimate Stride dominated Australia’s best young trotters winning the Breeders Crown last season and returned with an effortless win in a mobile start race two weeks ago. Punters looking for a lunchtime bet could do worse than double down in race two on the Williamson team. “We have two trotters in the second race and I think one of the two will win,” says the trotting supremo. “The two-year-old Love N The Port might be the best of them and would probably win on raw ability but if he doesn’t then one of our others in Springbank Mason is also a good chance.” Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    A good problem has led to Canterbury trainer Mitchell Kerr lining up quality 3yr-olds A Taste Of Honey and Koenigsegg at Ascot Park on Thursday. Having too many smart 3yr-olds in the same grade has forced Kerr to send his pair south to avoid them clashing with The Flying Fijian, William Wallace and Storm, who will race at Addington on Friday night. It is also hoped A Taste Of Honey and Koenigsegg will return to Canterbury in even better shape than before they left. “I have got quite a few horses in the same grade, so these two are going down south so I can split them up,” Kerr said. “Neither of them has had a trip away, so it should be really good for them.” A Taste Of Honey will step out for the first time in over a year in race 9. A growth spurt and the Covid19 lockdown are the main reasons the Art Major pacer has not been seen since last year’s Harness Jewels. “She had a few wee growing pains – they hit her after the Jewels,” Kerr said. “She went through a massive growth spurt, so we decided to give her plenty of time out.” “We did have her ready to go before lockdown, but we got a bit unlucky there and had to put her out again.” A Taste Of Honey has impressed in three post-lockdown trials and workouts ahead of her return to racing. The 3yr-old ran on late in the first, before running second to her smart stablemate, Storm, in the next. A Taste Of Honey then won her latest Rangiora workout, when reeling off a 56.9sec last 800m. Those efforts signalled the lightly tried filly is ready to make another impact at the races. It is now just up to driver Blair Orange to find clear running for her from barrier 1 on the second row of the mobile. “She is a really nice filly and I am really happy with her,” Kerr said. “She has got the visitor’s draw, so she just needs a little bit of luck.” Koenigsegg will start for the first time since last October when stepping out in race 10. The 3yr-old’s recent time on the sidelines has been largely for the same reasons as his stablemate. “He is in the same boat as A Taste Of Honey – he went through a massive winter growth spurt,” Kerr said. “He had a real good break and he has come back in fine fettle.” Koenigsegg has had two Rangiora trials and workouts ahead of his return. The 3yr-old beat his stablemate William Wallace in the first, before chasing home star 2yr-old Krug when third a week later. “I didn’t really push him at the workouts either,” Kerr said. “So, he is going really well and I couldn’t really be any happier with him.” Koenigsegg meets a smart line up in what will be just his fourth career start with Orange in the sulky. The Mach Three pacer clashes with Southland up and comer Love On The Rocks and fellow Cantabrian Rocknroll King, who will be suited by the race 10’s mobile conditions. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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 Invercargill again today with an eleven race program starting at 12:09pm and in this video 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 Invercargill. Invercargill Thursday 2nd July 2020 Race 1 Racing Minister in top form and he should be winning this race……Kiwi Jewel improved performance last start for third and she can o on with it…….Miss Ivy good draw to work with and place claims from there…..The Naenae Express coming in fresh and should get a cosy run on the fence. Can finish into a placing in this field. Selections:  Racing Minister  (7),   Kiwi Jewel (6),   Miss Ivy (1),    The Naenae Express (9)   Race 2 Love N The Port trials have been encouraging and from a top trotting stable. Winning claims fresh…….Top Pocket Chance has been disappointing the last couple but better placed in this field. Can win……Springbank Mason had support fresh but blew it at the start, Can atone with manners……It’s Summertime manner a big concern but has ability, one for longer odds here. Selections:  Love N The Port (7),   Top Pocket Chance (3),   Springbank Mason (9),    It’s Summertime (14)   Race 3 It’s Me only fair last start but good draw again and top driver takes the reins. One of the leading chances……Man I’m Good should get a decent run from the draw and can place with luck in the running….Jabali going good races and a place hope here even from the terrible draw……Mighty George coming in fresh but good at workouts. Is stronger and can win. Selections:  It’s Me (2),   Mighty George (4),   Man I’m Good (1),    Jabali (8)   Race 4 Bardot good fresh up and weaker field to contend with here. Winning claims…..Delight looks the early leader again and can go close with no attackers mid race…..Olive Cook down from racing better fields in Canterbury. Can get some travel money here…..Flight Crew only a maiden but has a big reputation. Needs to bring her a-game but can win. Selections: Bardot  (4),   Delight (6),   Olive Cook (9),    Flight Crew (10)   Race 5 Savvy Bromac in good form and is a great chance to get her maiden win here…..Sweet Annie has the draw and has been unlucky. Good winning chance in this field……Tres Chic from a strike rate stable who can win freh. Tote the guide…..Insarchatwist should get a cosy run on the fence and needed in this line-up. Selections:  Savvy Bromac (6),   Sweet Annie (1),  Tres Chic (7),    Insarchatwist (9)   Race 6 Ride In A Concorde Fresh up for new stable and she has prior good form in Canterbury. Should be hard to beat……Longueval has been threatening for a while and gets his chance here. One of the better chances in this field…..Motor Mouth ok at his last campaign but trick draw. Leave out at your peril…..Rin Tin Tin draw suits and he has been getting better with racing. Winning claims. Selections:  Ride In A Concorde (2),   Longueval (6),   Motor Mouth (7),    Rin Tin Tin (3)   Race 7 Tony The Pony good late run last start in a strong field. Better draw here and can win…..Targaryen not the worst in this field from the draw. Good place chance……Cassius Bromac was a bit disappointing last start and cops another bad draw. Allow another chance……Matrika ok last start and he might try for an all the way win. Include Selections:  Matrika (5),   Tony The Pony (3),   Targaryen (1),    Cassius Bromac (7)   Race 8 Richard The Third good second last start and one of the leading chances in this field. Needed…….Tweedledee good finish for third last start and getting better with racing. Can win……Alpine Retreat manners a concern but can place if he trots all the way. One for longer odds…..Smudgee ok last start and will be fitter. Place hopes best here. Selections:  Richard The Third (6),   Tweedledee (10),   Smudgee (4),   Alpine Retreat (1)   Race 9 A Taste Of Honey has good trial form in Canterbury and the draw the only worry. Should be winning if she can clear traffic…..The Maroon Marauder another with good Canterbury form in strong fields. Driver change and has winning claims…..Call Me Keith ok last start and draw suits. Place chance here…..Lite Percussion run down late after leading last start. Similar tactics here maybe and can place again. Selections:  A Taste Of Honey  (9),   Call Me Keith (1),   The Maroon Marauder (8),    Lite Percussion (7)   Race 10 Koenigsegg trailing well and drawn to lead. Goodwinning chance here with top driver on board….Love On The Rocks going well winning his last two but stronger field here. Has winning claims….Franco Huntington he goes ok with a strong pace and drawn to trail. Not the worst at good place value…..Deus Ex terrible draw but he can leave the gate ok. Has winning claims if he can find the front early. Selections:  Koenigsegg  (2),   Franco Huntington (1),   Love On The Rocks (4),    Deus Ex (8)   Race 11 Ultimate Stride easy win fresh and looks like continuing the picket fence formline here….Count Eyre ok last start after an early gallop. Can place….Fanny Hill not sure she can beat the favourite but has place claims here…..Rydgemont Son racing well and can place. Manners the concern early with him. Selections:  Ultimate Stride  (11),   Count Eyre (3),   Fanny Hill (10),    Rydgemont Son (13)   Harnesslink Media

It’s great news that three key 2019-2020 Southern Group races are to go ahead in the new season. The Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes, Nevele R/Macca Lodge Southland Oaks and Diamond Creek Farm Classic for two year olds have been confirmed for the new season although the exact date and venue are still to be confirmed. “It’s a fair old calendar for the two and three year old colts and geldings. And the three year old fillies have the remainder of the Nevele R Fillies Series and the final which will be run on Cup Day,” said John Price who’s the main driving force behind getting the races back on track. The Supremacy and Oaks will be Group Three races. “It is good for the breeders, the owners, and Southland to get them up and going,” he said. The stake level is likely to be $30,000 for each, but before a final figure can be settled on Price has to have talks with key sponsors regarding their contributions. “I can’t see too much of a problem with them agreeing.” Southland Standardbred Breeders Association, SBSR, New Zealand Bloodstock, Southern Harness, and the National Body of the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders all supported the application to run the feature races. “There was good genuine support right across the board to run the finals.” The top qualifiers for the Southern Supremacy are: Spirit Of St Louis, Pembrook Playboy, See Ya Write, Minstrel, Yossi, Forsure, Burnham Boy, Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon, Carlos Bromac, Willison, Major Meister, Croesus and Longueval. The leading contenders for the Southland Oaks are: Watch Me Now, Pearl Harbour, Bailey’s Dream, Plutonium Lady, American Eyretime, Renegade Rose, Sugar Loaf, Need You Now, Delightful GNP, Princess Jessie, Stylish Memphis, Flossie and Mossdale Lottee. Price is also advocating that the final of the Southern Belle Speed Series be run on the same day.   Bruce Stewart

Shartin N, the 2019 Harness Horse of the Year, returned to defend her harness racing title in winning form once again, capturing the $33,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace Tuesday at Yonkers Raceway. It was just the second start of the 2020 season for Shartin N as she remains undefeated for trainer Jim King. Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick.  The fifth race feature started off with Snobby Town and driver George Brennan shooting out to the early lead with Cavairt Ally (Andrew McCarthy) leaving from post seven and settling on the lead as they went by the opening quarter mile in :27.4. They raced single file until the half mile marker in :57.2 and that is when Tetrick made his move from fourth place with Shartin N. The world champion mare moved up to collar Caviart Ally and start to pass her by at the three-quarters in 1:24.3. Unable to completely clear to the lead on the final turn, Shartin N kicked in another gear in the stretch and went on to win by one and one-half lengths over Snobbytown in 1:52. Caviart Ally was third.   Owned by Richard Poillucci, Jo Ann Looney-King and Tim Tetrick, Shartin N is a seven-year-old mare by Tintin In America and she paid $4.20 to win as the even money favorite. 2019 was a banner year for Shartin N as she won 15 of her 19 starts and $982,177 in purse earnings, leading toward her being named the Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year. Lifetime Shartin N has 43 career wins and $2.1 million in earnings. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    A flamboyant finish line flourish told the story for Jason Thomas. The young trainer-driver had just won with a first start trotter Martha Stuart that he’d had “from day dot” “It was really special.” To make it even sweeter the victory at Addington on Sunday in the Non-winners 3YO+ MR46 to MR50 event (2600 metres) was his first winning drive since 2014 when he was still a junior driver. These days his “good mate” John Dunn is his go-to driver though on Sunday he was committed to his own horse and favourite Yuri who ended up running second to Thomas. “It was cool because we have a great group of owners, there’s dad (Ian Thomas), Nick Vertogen, Jed and Greg McIntosh and Stu Dolamore, who’s been a big supporters of ours, so to have a good horse for them …” Thomas had acquired the bay filly (Superfast Stuart – Dusky Wishes) from fellow trainer Bruce Negus as a yearling. “It probably took us two and a half years to get her to the races so it’s been a while coming.” It was Thomas’ second win in a week, after Dunn reined The Diva home at big odds ($31.60 and 8.30) the previous Sunday. With 15 career wins as a driver and nine as a trainer, Thomas has a team of around a dozen in work at Charing Cross, a 45 minute drive from Christchurch where he leases facilities at Elrae Lodge. Next season he’ll go into partnership with his father. “Dad does a lot of chiropractic work on the horses, specially the trotters with their bodies and muscles and joints.” “It’s a big part of what we do.” And more winners could be on their way, he’s looking forward to seeing two-year-old Evangalista in action, hoping she too can do a “Martha Stuart” on debut this Friday.

Over the years, Melbourne harness racing trainer-driver Mario Attard has tried his hand successfully at a number of business pursuits, but horses have always been in the background. Attard, based at Rockbank, just minutes away from Tabcorp Park, Melton, now admits that he's fully focused on his small team of pacers-and the results are certainly coming. Two of his three horses in Don't Hold Back (Courage Under Fire-Braeview Express (Badlands Hanover) and Power Of Faith (Art Major-Golden Showgirl (Armbro Operative) recently scored longshot wins at his home track. Three-year-old filly Power Of Faith started the ball rolling with a narrow victory on June 22 at bolter's odds of 40/1 and stablemate, seven-year-old stallion Dont Hold Back, joined the party with a win last Saturday night at 15/1. "I've been licensed for nearly 40 years, but during most of that time I was trying to run businesses and do the horses at the same time. To be honest, the horses probably weren't getting the care they needed," Attard said. "So I decided not all that long ago to give it my best shot. I'm a happy sort of guy, but I'm really enjoying it at the moment," he said. "I've nursed Dont Hold Back along for a number of years and now I'm going for broke with him. He ran a good fourth first up at Melton after a little break and then his last start win in 1.55-5 was solid." Dont Hold Back has been a marvellous performer for Attard with 14 wins and 11 placings from 52 starts for nearly $250,000. After starting out as an electronics technician, which involved making specialized gauges for refineries, Attard was lured to the automotive industry in the late 1980s. "I was one of the first in Melbourne to be qualified to convert motor vehicles to run on gas. I put in a huge amount of hours for probably 12 or 13 years," he said. "Then I went into curtains and drapes for a bit before running a big building business called New Look Homes Pty Ltd. I was in that with one of my sons, Ian, and we had four supervisors and a team of office staff. "It was successful, but one day I just thought to myself that I'd had enough. So I went and told Ian of my decision-he was okay with it because he'd had the same feelings. "There were a few other ventures. It was all fun and it certainly taught me how to deal with a lot in life, particularly learning how to read people. "We dabble in a bit of development now. But the boys take care of me. 'Leave it to us', they tell me! Our other son Darren has Dream Design Build in Melbourne, while the oldest, Karen, runs Que One Homes with her husband. "My wife Anna is my biggest supporter in harness racing, while our children and 10 grandchildren are in it for the fun." Attard was always going to be involved in the sport with his father Charlie being a successful trainer-driver for many years, while his late grandfather Tony was also a keen participant. Charlie, who still attends meetings with Mario, was associated with many great horses when training at nearby Sydenham. He was involved with such smart pacers as Lombo Limmo (23 wins including the 2008 Devonport Cup), Bells and Whistles (Moonee Valley 2yo recordholder, 12 wins, $99k), Oh Lord (21 wins, $40k, before continuing a successful career in the US), and Gold Glen (4 wins from just a handful of starts). "Dad had a great eye for a nice horse. He could pick them out and he never paid a lot. He was also very good with young ones and got them going, just by understanding them," Mario said. And the Attard father-and-son team will be back at Melton tonight with Power Of Faith, one of the top fancies in the IRT Australia 3yo Pace.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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 Alexandra Park again tonight with a nine race program starting at 6:11pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night 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 Alexandra Park Alexandra Park Wednesday 1st July 2020   Race 1 Franco Nandor he ran some tidy races last campaign and has been good at workouts, Include……Captain Nemo another of the strong Ray Green stable. He was ok last start and can win with the right trip, needed…..Doubtless Bay good draw and running on ok last start. Not the worst in this field and over the odds……Marathon Man beaten by a good horse fresh up from a terrible draw. Best draw here and can go one better in this field. Selections:  Franco Nandor (6),   Captain Nemo (5),   Doubtless Bay (2),    Marathon Man (1)   Race 2 Milner good finish last start and well placed in this field. Top selection……Silk going great guns now winning his last two. Will head forward and can win again…..Sheffield Sparky unlucky not to win last campaign and has a good draw. Needed…..Accelere he might get a cosy run from the draw and is a player if he can clear traffic. Selections:  Milner (10),   Silk (4),   Sheffield Sparky (3),    Accelere (9)   Race 3 Asteria Lavra Has been losing her chance at the start in her previous two runs. Can trot and only needs manners to go close here…..Rastusburn up from Canterbury and a trotter with a bit of ability. Trainer does well with ex South Island horses and has winning claims…..Hill of Peace another horse with ability who would be a major threat if he brought his a-game, can win…..Miss Slippers ok second last start and no surprise to see her put in a good effort again here. Selections:  Asteria Lavra (10),   Hill of Peace (5),   Rastusburn (11),    Miss Slippers (3)   Race 4 Hot And Treacherous he looked to have a bit left in the tank when winning fresh up. Good draw and winning claims again…..American Dealer big run to win fresh up at his last campaign. Has to right in the fight in this race……Larry Lincoln tricky draw but good winner first up. Can place here…….Kerri Maquire good run for second here last start. Draw ok if she can get some room in the run home. Selections:  Hot And Treacherous  (3),   American Dealer (6),   Larry Lincoln (7),    Kerri Maquire (10)   Race 5 Credit Master of a decent handicap and fresh up. Top pick on ability and can win….Tricky Ric nice effort to win last start and should be thereabouts again with a head start on his favoured rivals……Xebec blew it with a midrace gallop last start but easy winner prior.Needed here……Sertorius has good form on the track and should go close to a place again with manners. Selections:  Credit Master (9),   Tricky Ric (4),   Xebec (3),    Sertorius (7)   Race 6 Cee Whatadelight has good form on the board and nice draw. Should run top three….Weren’t Watching good finish last start for third and form in the south prior was good. Tough draw but needed here…..Kuyomi fresh up third was tidy and this field is in her range. Can win at good odds….Spirited Belle gate speed from out wide last start and stuck on ok in the straight. Can place. Selections:  Cee Whatadelight (4),   Kuyom (8),   Weren’t Watching (7),    Spirited Belle (9)   Race 7 Copy That serious talent coming in fresh. Should win this if he can step away with them at the start….Major Jellis steps up in grade but gets a good headstart on the favoured runners, Can place……Yorkshire stand start manners a concern but ok last start. One for longer odds in this…….On The Cards good beginner who will suit the staying distance of this race. Can win. Selections:  Copy That (6),   On The Cards (7),   Major Jellis (2),    Yorkshire (3)   Race 8 Edamfast ok here two starts ago and draw suits. Not the worst at good odds…..Rainbow Wiri beat a similar field here last start but draw not great. Getting good odds again……Happy Place should get a good run through from the draw and will probably start favourite in this. Needed…..Lynton Creek top effort for third last start and always a place chance in these amateur driver races. Selections:  Edamfast (4),   Rainbow Wiri (7),   Happy Place (10),    Lynton Creek (11)   Race 9 Tears Of Joy upset winner here last start beating Daisy Hill. Might be the quinella again here…….Daisy Hill the class horse here and will start favourite. Winning claims with manners…..Kristofferson good effort for third last start and similar field. Could be hard to beat if he found the front…..Bro Fawkes S probably not a winner here but he steps well and is a place chance fresh… Selections:  Tears Of Joy  (8),   Daisy Hill (9),   Kristofferson (2),    Bro Fawkes S (1)   Harnesslink Media

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    The Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) is the pinnacle for many trainers in New Zealand and South Auckland horseman Ray Green believes he has the horse that could be a major contender in the time-honoured race this year. His exciting colt Copy That has had a standout three-year-old term winning six of his 10 starts and placing in the remaining four. The season was highlighted by victories in the Gr.2 Three-Year-Old Classic (2200m) and Gr.2 Flying Stakes (1980m), while he also finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Sires’ Stakes Final (1980m) and Gr.1 Northern Derby (2700m). “You couldn’t fault what he did (this season), he stamped himself as one of the best,” Green said. “The last start (Flying Stakes) was the most impressive for me.” Green labelled Copy That has one of the best horses he has trained and he is excited about what lies ahead for the son of American Ideal. “He’s as good a horse as we have ever had, we are pretty fired up about him,” Green said. “We will put a nomination in for the New Zealand Cup and we will see where we are at at the time.” The classy colt has some big targets in front of him and he will kick-off his campaign in the McMurty Farms Handicap Pace (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night. Green has been pleased with the way his charge has been progressing in his work, however, he cited his 45m handicap as a major concern in his first-up assignment. “He is really thriving,” Green said. “His work has been good and he has trialled well. I think it will probably take him a couple of runs to get back to where he was the last time he raced. “I think he is classy enough to still win it in spite of the 45m handicap, but I wouldn’t want to label him as a sure thing. “He will be vulnerable because of his lack of race fitness, but he is a classy individual.” TAB bookmakers have installed Copy That as a $2.90 second favourite behind On The Cards at $2.30. Copy That won’t be the only stable representative having his first-up run on Wednesday night, with Green also lining up half a dozen fresh hopefuls. American Dealer, Larry Lincoln, and Man Of Action have all pleased Green in their recent trials and he believes they will all put in a good showing in the Dawson Harford Mobile Pace (2200m). “Larry Lincoln is having his second lifetime start,” Green said. “He had a few little issues early on, but he seems fine now and is trialling well. “Man Of Action trialled particularly well, and so did American Dealer, so I am confident all three of them will go a good race.” Green will also line-up a trio of runners in the PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace (2200m) and he believes debutant Apieceoflou is one to watch for the future. “Franco Nandor and Captain Nemo are probably better prospects at this stage,” Green said. “Apieceoflou is still on the way up and the experience won’t hurt him. He looks like a nice horse for the future.”

Trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan have reason to celebrate even before they head to Alexandra Park tonight look for more. The long-time friends have lodged papers this week to resume their training partnership in the new season, nine years after last training together. Phelan cut his teeth working with Hall of Famer Purdon and they trained together from 2008 to 2011 before Phelan briefly moved overseas. The 38-year-old first worked for Steve Telfer when he returned from his time in Australia but has been with Purdon for the last few years and is thrilled to be re-entering their partnership. “It is like coming home to me,” says Phelan. “It is a wonderful property which I love and Barry and Katrina have been great to me. “And we have some lovely horses here so I am looking forward to next season even more now.” Purdon may have nothing left to prove in harness racing but he has rarely trained better, with his strike rate last season the highest of his career, albeit with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity these days. “Scott and I get on really well and he is a great worker. But the quality I admire most is he cares about the horses and getting the job done well,” offered Purdon. While the partnership won’t officially resume until the new season in August, the stable could easily have two winners tonight. They have both Major Jellis (10m handicap) and On The Cards (55m) in tonight’s main pace where they clash with NZ’s best three-year-old pacer in Hard Copy (45m) and in-form mare Callie’s Delight (30m). The small field and step up to 2700m distance may partially negate the handicaps for the favourites but the tempo for the first mile of the race could dictate their chances “I think On The Cards will be better for his fresh up run but these are tricky races,” says Purdon. Rival trainer Ray Green feels the same with Hard Copy, who be believes is forward enough to win yet still at the improving stage. “I am happy with him but he has been away for a while and a lot will depend on how fast they go and where they all end up in the running,” says Green. Purdon has impressive debut runner-up Marathon Man in the first race at tonight’s race Wednesday meeting at Alexandra Park, in which he has barrier one rather than the poor barrier he had to come from last start. “He was very good behind what looked a nice maiden winner last start and should be hard to beat,” he says. One of the other highlights of the night is the return of Credit Master and Kenny’s Dream in the main trot (race five) but like Copy That they face big handicaps fresh up and may have to chase a race fit rival like Tricky Ric who won the comparable race last start but doesn’t receive a penalty for that.   Michael Guerin

Have Faith In Me N was a winner once again on Saturday when he smoked his harness racing rivals in the $18,000 Open Pace at Scioto in a slick time of 1:49.3. J D Perrin trained the winner and also second placed Our Corelli N making it a Down Under Quinella. Our Corelli N was some 1.7 seconds behind the winner. Blindswitch Racing Stable and Bukers Stable were the successful owners of the Down Under quinella. The win took Have Faith In Me N to over $1.7m in stake earnings for his racing career. The son of Bettors Delight set Down Under harness racing alight when he won the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle in Sydney in a scotching time of 1:47.5.   Monday 22nd June Harrington Raceway DE Waikiki Beach A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $2,500 Bettor Rock On N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $2,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Stormont Czar A – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $6,800   Tioga Downs NY Shecouldbegood N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,700   Tuesday 23rd June Running Aces Casino & Racetrack MN Firenglow A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $6,700 Keep On Rocking A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $10,000 Last Flight In N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,200   The Meadows PA Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $11,500 Tioga Downs NY Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $5,600   Yonkers Raceway NY Provocativeprince N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $14,250         Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Fizzing N, 3rd Kenrick N Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $17,250 Yayas Hot Spot N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $17,250   Georgian Downs CA American Tour N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,800   Wednesday 24th June Buffalo Raceway NY Empire Earl N – Time: 2:01.0, Stake: $8,400 Harrington Raceway DE Stella A – Time: 2:03.2, Stake: $20,000   Thursday 25th June Harrahs Hoosier Park IN The Empiressister N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $19,750 Saratoga Harness NY Bontz N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $8,500 Culinary Delight N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $4,800 Scarborough Downs ME Dontustopbelievn N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $3,500 Yonkers Raceway NY Wardan Express A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $14,250 Raukapuka Ruler N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $33,000 One Off Delight A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $20,250 Charlottetown Driving Park CA Misty Memory N  – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $1,550   Friday 26th June Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Saloon Passage N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $7,500 Threeofthebest A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $12,500 Ana Malak N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $15,000 Scarborough Downs ME Rock Diamonds N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,000   Saturday 27th June Buffalo Raceway NY Electric Chapel N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $4,400 Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Backup A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $7,000 Late Night Date A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $8,000 Meadowlands NJ Campora N – Time: 1:48.4, Stake: $10,000 Campora N Persimmon N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $12,000 Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $15,000 Northfield Park OH Rollin Witholly A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $6,500 Scioto Downs OH Havefaithinme N – Time: 1:49.3, Stake: $18,000 Messi N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $11,000 Picard A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $14,000 The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Lachie Maguire N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $11,200   Sunday 28th June Harrahs Philadelphia PA Vettel N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $11,600 Our Max Phactor N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $14,400 Saratoga Harness NY Nerve Of Steel N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,750 Crockets Cullen N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,500 The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Rock n Shard N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000 Rideau Carleton Raceway CA Darcee N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $6,000 Flying Isa N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $9,000 Carter Dalgety

By Jonny Turner    Trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis and owner Tom Kilkelly can dare to dream again after their star pacer U May Cullect got an important all clear this week. Dunedin Vet Peter Gillespie gave the excitement machine a tick of approval to resume fast work following a scan on the tendon injury that cut short his 2019 New Zealand Cup preparation. Barclay admitted it was hard to contain her excitement following the news. “Its hard not to be excited with news like that,” the trainer-driver said. “Peter was very happy with him and he gave us the all clear to start fast working him.” U May Cullect’s latest scan came after his troublesome tendon had been closely monitored for nine months. The winner of seven of just eight career starts started his rehabilitation process with just a five minute walk each day. Barclay and Ellis’ patience to slowly built that up in baby steps clearly paid off with the 6yr-old successful scan. “He is up to 45 minutes trotting now,” Barclay said. "We started off with five minutes walking and built that up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes over the past nine months.” Barclay gave U May Cullect some strong work ahead of this week’s crucial scan and instantly got back the magical feeling the pacer had given her in the past. “There is nothing like driving him – he just feels so balanced.” “I gave him a couple of bowls in the cart last week and he felt nice.” U May Cullect’s clean winded and athletic physique, coupled with him already being jogged up, means he is just a matter of weeks away from trial or workout fitness. But, that does not mean he will be stepping out publicly any time soon. Barclay and Ellis plan to take a patient approach to work towards their ultimate goal – making it to this year’s New Zealand Cup. “He won’t take much to come up – the only caution is that we will try to limit the amount of races he has before the cup to try to get him right." “He won’t go to every cat and dog fight.” “We will limit him to a few starts and hopefully we can qualify for the cup.” Though he is not quite in the same realm as U May Cullect just yet, the Barclay-Ellis-Kilkelly combination have produced another exciting pacer recently in Love On The Rocks. The 3yr-old Terror To Love pacer has impressed with two powerful post-lockdown wins. Both have come off the unruly, with Love On The Rocks having to circle a capacity field of older, race hardened horses in his second Ascot Park victory. “He is a pretty sharp horse,’ Barclay said. “Having to come off the unruly again a go around them – I know he got a drag in to it – but it was a big effort.” “He is a pretty sharp wee horse.” Love On The Rocks will come off the unruly in race 10 at Ascot Park on Thursday. The 3yr-old is ineligible for the upcoming Sires Stakes and Sales Series races, which could persuade his trainers to send him for a short spell soon. “He is not paid up for anything, so we might just give him this start and give him a wee spell and get him ready for the new season,” Barclay said. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

What’s being hailed as ‘‘The Million Dollar Spring” has been confirmed for Auckland and Christchurch. Stakes for eighteen races have been announced for the country’s best two and three-year old pacers and trotters. The New Zealand Bloodstock Harness Million for two-year-old colts and geldings is the table-topper with a stake of $200,000 at Alexandra Park on September 25. The Garrard’s NZ 2YO Sires Stakes Final will be held the previous Friday for $140,000. The fillies will be chasing $150,000 in the two-year-old NZB Standardbred Harness Million at Addington on Friday October 2, while the $120,000 Magness Benrow Group One Sires Stakes Fillies Championship will be held at Alexandra Park on October 30. The races were re-scheduled after the COVID-19 pandemic brought racing to a halt in March and forced some feature age-group races to be postponed.    On New Zealand Cup day (November 10) the Group One Nevele R Series Final will be decided with a stake of $100,000. The richest race for the trotters will be the $85,000 PGG Wrightson 3YO final at Alexandra Park on October 9 while the Haras des Trotteurs Sires Stakes Championship for the two-year-olds is scheduled for Friday October 16 at Addington. In all stake money will top $1.13m. “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get where we are and it’s going to be a hugely exciting time,” says New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred Advisor Bruce Barlass. To view the full schedule click here The Board also wishes to thank their loyal stable of sponsors for their support and is looking forward to continuing these partnerships in our future races. “Fully supporting each other through these challenging times will provide better outcomes for us all as the Industry looks to rebound from the effects of COVID-19” concluded Martin Pierson, Sires Stakes Executive.